Boys For Sale: Draft Preview – The Blue Line

The Hawks will do other things besides swing some trades this week. They’re also going to pick some kids (unless Stan trades the entire draft for some player because he temporarily switches brains with Mike Ditka. Because that went so well. Lesson, kids: Don’t switch brains with Mike Ditka).

Looking at the Hawks system, they are short on centers. Big shock, I know. But once you get past Teuvo Teravainen, really the only center prospect is Phillip Danault (and who knows if he’s involved in any of these trades). Mark McNeill has been moved to wing, whichever Broadhurst it is that plays center doesn’t project to be an impact player, Tyler Motte is a couple years away, and so on.

They’re better stocked on the blue line. We know Stephen Johns will most likely make the Hawks next year, and behind him there’s Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck, David Rundblad could all make appearances for the Hawks next year. They’re all ready for sure. There’s a couple in a wave behind that as well. But today we’ll focus on the d-men, and tomorrow will look at some forwards. Maybe. Depending on my sobriety level after the US match.

Defensive Prospects

Note: I’m not going to list all the defensive prospects who will be taken on Friday night, because obviously most won’t be available to the Hawks at #27. So we’ll try and find five names or so who could be around when the Hawks pick. 

Julius Honka – Swift Current in the WHL

 (from Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan on Let’s just say that when you go to a game and you see his name in the lineup, you’re excited to watch the game because he’s got about four or five different gears. You think he’s just skating normally and he puts it in another gear, then another gear. Excellent vision and on-ice awareness. He reads the play so well sometimes he’s two or three steps ahead of his own teammates.

Note: He would also allow us to make tons of “Honka Honka!” jokes, a la Richard Pryor. I’m all for him dropping to the Hawks, which he probably won’t. 

Jack Glover – USNDP In Ann Arbor

from Shawn Reznik on  Jack Glover showed his impressive skillset this season with the NTDP. He’s a tall, all-around defenseman that can move well. He has great edgework, lateral movement, and is a fluid skater. For his 6’3″ body, he’s still lacking some weight, but when he puts on more muscle he’ll be a force on the backend.

 Glover is a smart player who knows when to jump in the rush or sit back and be in position to disrupt a play. He likes to use his body against the opposition to check along the boards and take the forwards out of the play. He moves the puck well in all three zones, which is why he produced well offensively this season with 28 points in 59 games. His reach is another key asset to his defensive game.

Travis Sanheim – Calgary Hitmen in WHL

(from Sanheim has limited experience in WHL with only one season in the books. Puck-moving defenseman with very good vision. Progressed very quickly with increased ice time during second half of season. Tall frame with room to add weight.

Roland McKeown – Kingston in OHL

(from David Gregory at Central Scouting on “I love this kid … he can play offensively and move the puck and has a bomb of a shot.  When defending you, he presents himself as a big, strong and mobile guy. He’ll push guys to the side; he’s a legitimate top prospect.”

Anthony DeAngelo – Sarnia (OHL)

(from NHL Central Scouting) “Dynamic skating and puck moving defenseman, plays with an offensive synergy – excellent quickness in transition game – initiates rushes and team offense – passes and shoots with authority – capable to change the complexion of a game – positive improvement to his game to manage risk-reward plays – plays a lot of minutes and in all situations.”

Jack Dougherty – USNTDP

(from Eldon MacDonald at 

  • Mr. Effective – Not the biggest guy in the world, not the best skater in the world, doesn’t have the best skills in the world, Mr. Effective just “gets her done” through hard work and effective use of the tools he has.
  • Offense – Has the point shot and has an effective outlet pass, even in tough situations. Just “gets her done”. Jack has shown considerable improvement in this area of his game over the past year to the point where is no longer considered just a defensive defenseman.
  • Defense – Add a bit of a mean streak to sound positioning, the ability to know what to do in a situation, the willingness to be a little physical and you have yourself an effective defenseman, one who “gets her done” in all situations, 5 on 5, PK, PP.
  • Improvements to make – As a “gets her done” class skater, improvements in this area would enhance Jack’s overall effectiveness. Also, as an average-size D, a continuation in his improvements to offense from this year would add to his stock considerably.
  • Draft placement – Most, including myself, have Jack as an early second. However, a good U18 WJC may have moved him up to first round consideration as there not many high-end defensemen in this year’s draft. NHL teams always have a place for an effective defenseman who just “gets her done.”


  • I seriously hope this doesn’t sound like empty praise, Sam, but thanks for just quoting from a variety of sources on these players. If you’re not watching a hundred hours of prospect tape a week, it always sounds ridiculous to post a weighty opinion on these things. So ya, this is about the most sensible presentation of possible Hawk draft picks as I’ve seen so far–and a way more practical, informative read.

  • YoAdrienne

    Jack Dougherty sounds like a little bit like a D-man version of Andrew Shaw. Any of these kids sound like they could be a good addition to the Blackhawks if they can play as described if they make it to the Big League.

    Looking forward to Friday.

  • AirTrafficAJ


  • Oldfarthawkfan

    They have great depth on defense, 3 at Rockford who many think are NHL or close to NHL ready (Dahlbeck, Johns, Clendening), and Fournier in Juniors, and a couple in college with potential, forwards and goaltenders is what should be drafted in my opinion

  • jacquescloutier

    i’m definitely excited to see stephen johns in action and hope he becomes a solid contributor on the blue line for years to come, but i’ve seen no indication that he has the inside track to a roster spot next season over the other three [dahlbeck, clendening, rundblad]. did i miss something, or is this just speculation? based on what i’ve heard of his performance this season in the ahl, it seems that dahlbeck could possibly be more ready than johns. and of course a second rounder was given up for rundblad [not that it should matter, in theory].

  • ToucanStubbs

    I’ll take one McKeown please.