The Chicago Blackhawks have the No. 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft, which is Friday.
The Blackhawks will select the No. 11 player in the draft because the Arizona Coyotes forfeited their selection as part of sanctions for violations of the NHL Combine Testing Policy.
With the Blackhawks picking near the top 10, there’s a small consensus on them selecting either forwards Chaz Lucius of the U.S. NTDP or Matt Coronato of the Chicago Steel or a goaltender in Luleå’s Jesper Wallstedt or WHL Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa.
Here is what prospect draft experts think the Blackhawks will do in the first round.
Craig Button (TSN) — Chaz Lucius
Adam Kimelman (NHL.com) — Chaz Lucius
Lucius (6-1, 185) had surgery to remove a bone lesion in his left knee and missed the first four months of the season, but the 18-year-old returned pain-free and feels his skating is better than it has been in years. Lucius is strong around the net in the offensive zone and has an NHL-caliber shot that he used to score 13 goals in 13 games this season.
Mike Morreale (NHL.com) — Chaz Lucius
The Blackhawks could be looking to stock up on depth down the middle and Lucius might be the long-term option with proper development. He’s been compared by some scouts to Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and is regarded for having one of the hardest shots among players in the 2021 draft class. Lucius is committed to play at the University of Minnesota next season.
Corey Pronman (The Athletic) — Jesper Wallstedt
As with Ottawa, I’ve heard conflicting things from sources on if Chicago is going goalie or skater. If they are going skater, the name I’ve heard the most is local forward Matthew Coronato, but quite a few sources believe they will pick a goalie.
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic) — Jesper Wallstedt
The goalies are always the wild cards but several scouts I’ve talked to feel like the Blackhawks are destined to take one of the two here and Wallstedt is the consensus first choice if he’s still available. I know the Blackhawks really like 2020 second-round pick Drew Commesso — and deservedly so, he’s a legitimate prospect — but Chicago’s got a void that they’re going to need to fill in net (with all due respect to Kevin Lankinen), Commesso projects more as a 1B/backup, and a young goalie of Wallstedt’s calibre doesn’t come around very often, even if it feels like they do every year after Spencer Knight and Yaroslav Askarov preceded him in consecutive drafts. This would be a really good outcome for them.
Ryan Wagman (McKeen’s Hockey) — Sebastian Cossa
While the Blackhawks did select Drew Commesso last year and he is coming off a great freshmen season, they also jump at the chance to grab another potentially elite netminder in Cossa, who has the size and athleticism to be a star. It is always best to not put all your eggs in one basket.