Catching up with Chicago’s 2019 NHL Entry Draft selections

  

Chicago “won the lottery” with the third overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, moving up from potentially the 12th pick. Additionally, General Manager Stan Bowman made an obvious effort to add size to the Blackhawks’ organization throughout the draft. Here is a look at those drafted by Bowman as the big club takes their All Star break this week.

Kirby Dach
Dach has been a nice addition to Chicago this season, but the plan for Dach has been obvious. Jeremy Colliton and staff were to take it easy with him early on in the season and allow him to adjust to playing professional hockey against men, a big step up from his days in Saskatoon.

The 19-year-old forward has found the back of the net seven times in 45 games so far this season to go along with his seven assists, all this while averaging 13:36 of ice time. He has only played 16 minutes or more a night 10 times this season, eight of those coming since Dec. 29.

At 6-foot-4 and 197 pounds, the Alberta native has shown an ability to use his size to protect the puck and find his way to the net against smaller defenseman. This skill will only get better as he matures and develops his professional game.

Dach has also looked solid in his own zone. Many rookies struggle defensively with structure and positioning, but Dach has made a smooth transition in this area. Chicago fans should take this as a huge positive when it comes to the rookie, as he seems to “get it between the ears” when he is on the ice.

As he gains more ice time and trust from the coaching staff, Dach is here to stay in Chicago’s top-six forward group for years to come.

Alex Vlasic
With only three points in 21 games on the backend for Boston University this season, many would assume the 18-year-old is struggling for the Terriers. This could not be further from the truth. College hockey is quite the adjustment for freshman defensemen and Vlasic has shown he has the skills to play against tough competition.

The Wilmette, Illinois, native uses his size and solid hockey IQ to his advantage when on the ice. His ability to adjust is an excellent sign for Chicago fans. Stan Bowman needed to add size in last year’s draft and Vlasic stands 6-foot-6-and 199 pounds. Vlasic’s 19 blocks on the season places him fourth on the Terriers this season.

Expect the freshman to finish strong this season while being trusted in all situations for the Terriers.

Michal Teply
Chicago’s third pick in the fourth round, Teply showed well in camp and found his way to the Winnipeg Ice in the Western Hockey League. With 15 goals in 34 games, the forward can light the lamp while finding his teammates with 22 assists. As a point-per-game player, Teply needs to work on his defensive-zone talents.

The Czech Republic native showed well again offensively during the World Junior Championships this season. His five assists in five games is a testament to his skills. With that being said, his -5 rating in as many games shows his difficulty keeping the puck out of his own net, even if the stat is flawed.

Antti Saarela
The Finnish forward had a rough showing at the World Junior Championships this season with zero points in seven games. He also finished with a -5 rating during the tournament. But, as an 18-year-old in the tournament, Chicago fans should not be worried.

The winger has shown the ability to play against men in the Liiga back home in Finland. The left-handed shooting forward has 10 points in 26 games for fourth place on Ilves. His struggles at the World Juniors looks more like an anomoly than the norm.

Dominic Basse
A surprise pick by Bowman in the sixth round, Basse found himself playing for the Youngstown Phantoms in the United States Hockey League. Despite sporting a 3.77 goals against-average and a .881 save percentage, Basse’s stats should not be taken too seriously for now, as the USHL can be a difficult place to play for young goaltenders.

At 6-foot-6 and 197 pounds, Basse uses his positioning and athleticism to his advantage. In several viewings this season, Basse has made some highlight-reel saves while giving up a few “soft” goals from time to time, which, again, is common for a young goaltender in the USHL.

Basse is committed to Colorado College and will have options on his plans for next season over the summer.

Cole Moberg
Moberg finished out Chicago’s draft when he was selected in the seventh round. The Prince George Cougars assistant captain has 22 points in 39 games. The North Vancouver native has six goals in his third season with the Cougars.

Moberg has shown he can put points on the board while playing a solid defensive game in his own zone. As a seventh-round pick, the expectations are always low, but Moberg could surprise the Chicago brass.

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