The Chicago Blackhawks are still a force to be reckoned with in the NHL. After falling down 3-0 to Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs, they fought back only to lose in the 7th and deciding game. They could just as easily have been in the Stanley Cup final as they were being a first round victim. Despite the pre-season salary purge, the Hawks were good, although they performed somewhat under expectations in the regular season. The core is still there, and they should still be in the mix when it comes to naming the elite teams around the league. This pick will be another piece of the puzzle, but will have time to properly develop and will not be rushed into duty.
Now taking his turn at the podium is Jeffrey, Lead Writer of Blackhawk Up.
I’ll go with Zack Phillips, C Saint John of the QMJHL
Jared’s Analysis – Phillips is the third member of the potential Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs to be drafted in this first round. Phillips has been surrounded by talent and he has excelled in that role. Skating on a complementary line to Jonathan Huberdeau has lifted both players to higher standing in the draft, as teams don’t know which player to focus on. The Hawks are getting a player who within a couple of years will be a perfect complement to Jonathan Toews up the middle in Chicago.
Jeffrey, the Lead Writer of Blackhawk Up sent along his assessment of Phillips.
Phillips isn’t very big at 6-foot, 180 pounds. However, he’s a playmaker and uses his speed and puck control to put himself and teammates in positions to score. Phillips took his game to another level this past season, improving from 16 G and 28 A in 2009-10 to 38 G and 57 A in 2010-11 and added 24 more points in 17 playoff games. The Blackhawks aren’t extremely deep at center on the big club nor through the system. Castoff Ryan Johnson filled the 4th line spot most of last season, and Dave Bolland has been injured for good chunks of the last two years. Neither Michael Frolik nor Marcus Kruger seem destined to hold a top-6 center spot any time soon, so Phillips makes sense in the middle of the first round.
I encourage fans and followers of the Hawks to check out further information on the club and this pick in particular at Blackhawk Up.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Here are the Mock Draft results so far (click on the team name to go to the post about that pick):
|4||NEW JERSEY||Jonathan Huberdeau|
|5||NY ISLANDERS||Sean Couturier|
|9||BOSTON (FR TOR)||Duncan Siemens|
|15||NY RANGERS||Mark McNeill|
Now on the clock for the #19 selection, on behalf of the Los Angeles Kings, is Rink Royalty
PREVIEWING THE KINGS
2010-2011 Record: 46-30-6 (12th Overall)
Goals for: 25th
Goals Against: 7th
Power Play: 21st
Penalty Kill: 4th
TOP 5 Prospects in the system: Brayden Schenn (C), Jonathan Bernier (G), Andrei Loktionov (C), Tyler Toffoli (RW), Derek Forbort (D)
NEEDS: The Kings are on the verge of becoming an elite team. The shorcomings this past season were in putting the puck in the net, but with offensive dynamos Toffoli and Schenn ready to contribute either next season or the following one, the Kings are in good shape there also. There are no glaring weaknesses on the club, so taking a chance on an unknown wildcard might be in order. Dean Lombardi has put together a nice team and minor league system that looks set for a few years.
TOP 5 PLAYERS ON THE BOARD (per ISS):
1. Oscar Klefbom, D, Farjestad (SWE ELITE)
2. Rocco Grimaldi, C, USA Under-18 (USHL)
3. JT Miller, LW, USA Under-18 (USHL)
4. Mark Scheifele, C, Barrie (OHL)
5. Connor Murphy, D, USA Under-18 (USHL)
Check back on TOO MANY MEN ON THE SITE tomorrow evening to see who “Rink Royalty” chooses to take for the Los Angeles Kings, as the Fansided mock draft continues!