After getting bounced in the first round in each of the last two seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs this year for the first time since 2007-08.
As a result, the Blackhawks will pick in the top-10 at the NHL Draft for the first time since selecting Patrick Kane first overall in 2007. Despite a lack of high picks, the Blackhawks have done a nice job of scouting and finding gems in the mid-to-late rounds.
Alex DeBrincat fell into their lap during the 2016 draft (selected No.39 overall) and he had a great rookie season. Henri Jokiharju was the No.29 pick last year and ripped up the WHL this season and had a strong showing at the World Juniors. Ian Mitchell was their second-round pick last year and has the look of a player who could one day replace Duncan Keith and finally Tim Soderlund looks like the next Viktor Arvidsson and was picked 112th overall last summer.
Now, with a tough season behind them them the Blackhawks can focus on making another splash at the draft with the No.8 overall selection.
With the No.8 Overall Pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks select…
Oliver Wahlstrom — RW — United States ????????
Wahlstrom was a name known by hockey fans long before becoming an NHL Draft prospect, when he was a viral sensation he scored before he was a teenager.
Since then he has been star for the United States Development Team. Wahlstrom is coming off of a season in which he collected 48 goals and 46 assists (94 points) in 62 games as an assistant captain for the U.S. National U18 team.
Wahlstrom has good size and is tremendously gifted offensively, but will continue to need to work on his defensive game. He is widely considered a top-5 pick, but with some blueline needy teams ahead of the Blackhawks, another stud just might fall into their laps again.
“A sensational scoring threat, Oliver Wahlstrom is a fierce competitor that preys on weak play. He exploits gaps in the neutral zone; his positioning allows him to carry the puck forward immediately or shift up and into stride off of an outlet pass. He promptly takes easy lanes away from the opposition along his own blue line, but could stand to be more proactive defensively. Offensively, he might be described as uncontainable: the confidence he has in his individual puck skill, paired with a high level of thinking, makes him a difficult cog to take out of alignment. He is able to create opportunities for himself, as well as teammates, out of nothing; this, in turn, translates to energy on the ice and in the building as a whole. All-in-all, Oliver Wahlstrom is an instinct-driven hockey player gifted with the size, skating, skill, and smarts that coaches yearn for.” — Elite Prospects