The expectations for the Blackhawks and this year’s draft skyrocketed when they won the NHL Draft Lottery, AKA the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes, back on May 8th. In this post, I’ll not only discuss Bedard’s potential impact on the Blackhawks, but also shed light on the other talented individuals who joined the Blackhawks’ organization.
Here’s a look at all eleven of the Blackhawks 2023 draft picks:
Bedard is a generational talent. Constantly drawing comparisons to Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid, the Blackhawks now have a big-time star to build around. Bedard has killer speed, creativity with the puck and a dynamic shot. The direction of the organization will follow the development of Bedard. Bedard put up video game numbers in the WHL last season; he tallied 71 goals and 72 assists (that’s 143 points) in 57 games with Regina last year! If you want to get excited about the future in Chicago, just watch some Connor Bedard highlight reels.
Moore is the future second-line center in Chicago. A playmaker with elite speed and skating ability; Moore could be one of the steals of the draft. His ability and creativity allow for him to open up passing lanes that other players can’t. Moore with play at the University of Minnesota next season.
Yes, Gajan was the goalie is Bedard’s incredible OT-Winner against Slovakia in the world juniors. He did have a really solid juniors with a save percentage of 93.6% in four games. He has good size at 6’3 and scouts noted his great flexibility. There is debate around taking a goalie with this pick or even in taking Gajan over a higher rated goalie like Michael Hrabel. I actually got to see Gajan play in person for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) this past January. He allowed four goals on 24 shots in a loss to Dubuque. I wouldn’t say anything jumped out to me, but if I knew he was a future Blackhawk at the time I probably would’ve paid closer attention.
We may have to wait a few years to see Kantserov, but the Russian winger is another speedy playmaker. Only 5’9, but plenty of speed and puck-handling ability. Kantserov tallied 27 goals and 27 assists last season in the MHL.
Strong player who provides more size at the wing at 6’2. He’s a physical player and a hard forechecker. He’s also good friends with previous pick Adam Gajan.
Good value pick here. Lardis has a knack for finishing. He was traded mid-season from Peterborough to Hamilton last season. Once in Hamilton, Lardis tallied 25 goals and 21 assists in just 33 games! Definitely some upside here!
The Blackhawks might have been reaching with this one. Solid size at 6’4 but didn’t project to be this high of a pick by most sources. He may stay overseas for a while. He did find the scoresheet fairly often for Langnau U20 last season with 31 points (10 G 21 A) in 40 games.
A more defensive-minded checking center. Solid size but doesn’t have the speed or skillset of the earlier drafted centers. That being said, he is a disciplined player who can put pressure on defenses with his passing and drives to the net. Could be a solid role player.
Great name and a 6’4, 243-pound frame. He tallied 32 points (14 G 18 A) for Gatineau in the QMJHL last season. He excels using his big body in front of the net.
More size at 6’6, but Oscarson really hasn’t shown anything on the offensive side and he’s already 20 years old. After scoring just 3 points (1 G 2 A) in 45 games in the regular season, Oscarson scored 6 points (4 G 2 A) in the playoffs for Orebro (SHL), so maybe there’s something there.
The Hawks final pick and the only defenseman they took. A good skater who will be over in Europe for a bit. Solid side at 6’3, but not a lot is known about the Finish defender yet.
Overall, how can you not be ecstatic to be a Hawks fan right now! Their higher picks include a ton of speed and playmaking desperately needed for this team. The later rounds include some reaches or overseas stash picks, but nothing to be mad about. The future of this franchise rides with Connor Bedard. The Blackhawks have already made some moves to surround Bedard with some veterans, but I can’t wait to see how they continue to help his development.