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2021 NHL Draft: Blackhawks’ First-Round Forward Options

The Blackhawks could add another first-round forward to their system for a third straight year when they make their selection at No. 12.

Chicago Blackhawks
Photo: Tony Saxon - Guelph Today

The Chicago Blackhawks could select a forward in the first round for the third straight year Friday.

The Blackhawks selected Kirby Dach of WHL Saskatoon third overall in 2019 and Lukas Reichel of DEL Berlin 17th overall in 2020.

Here are seven candidates at forward that Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman could select.

Matt Coronato (LW/RW, USHL-Chicago)

Age: 18 (Nov. 14, 2002)
Size: 5-10, 183 pounds
Shoots: Right
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 9 North American skater
Elite Prospects: No. 32
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 17
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 15
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 22
Craig Button (TSN): No. 11

Related reading: Elite Prospects, The Athletic

Coronato led the USHL with 48 goals and ranked second in scoring with 85 points in 51 games this past season. He added 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in eight playoff games to help the Steel win the Clark Cup. Coronato has a good shot with a fast release, and his compete level and tenacity set him apart. He’ll be a freshman at Harvard next season along with several of his Steel teammates.

Chaz Lucius (C, U.S. NTDP)

Age: 18 (May 2, 2003)
Size: 6-0, 172 pounds
Shoots: Right
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 12 North American skater
Elite Prospects: No. 17
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 8
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 7
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 14
Craig Button (TSN): No. 16

Related reading: Elite Prospects, The Athletic, Minnesota

Lucius missed the majority of this past season with a knee injury, and scored 20 points (13 goals, seven assists) in 13 games. His elite goal scoring comes from a powerful, yet precise snap shot with a quick release. He is listed as a center, but he might be shifted to wing as a pro. He will be a freshman at Minnesota next season.

Fabian Lysell (LW/RW, Frölunda HC/Luleå HF)

Age: 18 (Jan. 19, 2003)
Size: 5-10, 172 pounds
Shoots: Right
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 9 European skaters
Elite Prospects: No. 9
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 13
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 22
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 3
Craig Button (TSN): No. 14

Related reading: Elite Prospects

Lysell is a great skater who comes down the ice with plenty of speed. As an 18-year-old playing against men in the SHL, Lysell scored three points (one goal, two assists) in 26 games. He found the scoresheet more in Sweden’s under-20 league, scoring 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 11 games. He also had nine points (three goals, six assists) to lead Sweden to bronze at the U18 World Championship. Lysell is one of the top playmakers in the draft thanks to his decisive puck-handling skills.

Brennan Othmann (LW, OHL-Flint/SL-Olten)

Age: 18 (Jan. 5, 2003)
Size: 6-0 174 pounds
Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 8 North American skater
Elite Prospects: No. 21
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 23
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 21
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 20
Craig Button (TSN): No. 17

Related reading: The Athletic

As most CHL players did in 2021 due to COVID-19, Brennan Othmann played overseas this past season. In 34 games with EHC Olten, Othmann tallied seven goals and 16 total points. Although underwhelming on the surface, for an 18-year-old to do what he did on such short notice is impressive. According to Othmann himself, his hockey sense is his best asset, but he is a very skilled winger. In addition to his 16 regular season points, Othmann recorded two points in four playoff games.

Aatu Räty (C, Liiga-Kärpät)

Age: 18 (Nov. 14, 2002)
Size: 6-1, 181 pounds
Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 3 European skater
Elite Prospects: No. 20
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 16
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 19
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 19
Craig Button (TSN): No. 23

Related reading: The Athletic

Aatu Räty is a bit of an interesting case as a player. He is the third-best European skater per numerous draft boards, but he has some glaring flaws in his game. The biggest knock on Räty is the lack of a quick release on his shot. He tends to really load up when he shoots. However, that load allows the young Finn to possess a deadly shot that leads to a lot of rebounds and rebound goals. Räty also has little fear going into the deep slot and front of the net, meaning he could develop into a quality middle-six center at the next level.

Cole Sillinger (C/LW, WHL-Medicine Hat/USHL-Sioux Falls)

Age: 18 (May 16, 2003)
Size: 6-0, 201 pounds
Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 10 North American skater
Elite Prospects: No. 12
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 9
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 18
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 12
Craig Button (TSN): No. 17

Related reading: The Athletic

With the WHL season starting late because of COVID-19, Sillinger opted to play in the USHL and scored 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 31 games. He finished fourth in points-per-game despite missing more than 20 games. His shot is his best attribute, but like Coronato it is Sillinger’s physical presence and compete level that has NHL scouts excited. Sillinger is expected to play for Medicine Hat next season.

Fyodor Svechkov (C/LW, VHL/MHL-Ladia Togliatti)

Age: 18 (April 5, 2003)
Size: 6-0, 179 pounds
Shoots: Left
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 6 European skater
Elite Prospects: No. 13
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 36
Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 24
Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 13
Craig Button (TSN): No. 6

Fyodor Svechkov is already considered an elite defensive forward coming out of this draft. He is a very polarizing prospect however, considered a top-ten pick by some and not even a first-rounder by others. Although his offense leaves some to be desired (four goals, two assists in 26 games) he has flashes of playmaking ability. Svechkov could develop into a very good two-way forward, but on the conservative side he would be an excellent defensive forward with some scoring prowess.

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Brandon is a contributor for On Tap Sports Net covering the Chicago Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Steel. He also covers the Blackhawks as an independent correspondent for NHL.com. Follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonmcain.

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