Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Countdown to draft day - Chicago Blackhawks

Since the Chicago Blackhawks are an original 6 team, they have been participating in drafts of one form or another since 1963. Their first ever pick was 5th overall in the 1963 Amateur draft when they struck out by selecting Art Hampson. Art would not ever play an NHL game, and I know very little of what became of Art. The Blackhawks would not have any success with their selections for the next several Amateur drafts before getting a hit in 1968 with John Marks, a defenceman from Winnipeg Manitoba.

Chicago's greatest draft success came in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

What is amazing about this draft is not only do they score one of the most exciting players to watch in NHL history with their first pick, they continue the draft selecting 8 more players that would eventually make the NHL. Ludzik, Murray, Wilson and Larmer would all go on to play over 400 NHL games a piece and of course Larmer would be an offensive superstar in his own right scoring 441 career goals while averaging more than a point a game in his 1000+ game NHL career. Denis Savard was the gem of the draft for the Hawks where he would break 100+ points 5 times for the Blackhawks during the 80's. Unfortunately for Blackhawks fans, Savard would leave Chicago and go on to win a Stanley Cup in a different uniform.

If you ignore the tiny 3 to 4 round Amateur drafts during the 60's then the worst draft in Chicago history would be the 1989 Entry Draft.

With the 6th overall selection in the draft, Chicago selected Adam Bennett. By selecting Bennett, the Hawks missed out on great 2-way forwards like Holik and Sillinger who were taken later than first round. Bennett who played a total of 69 games was by far the best Hawks selection in the draft. Only Tichy would ever play in the NHL from the remaining 9 selections Chicago had in the draft. Some other missed talent was: Nick Lidstrom, Patrice Brisebois, Robert Reichel, Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure.


  1. The Blackhawks have always had terrible scouting. A lot of that I blame on Michael Dumas, their head scout from 1992 until 2009 or 2010. The team has had a ton of lousy first round picks in that span. Sergei Krivokrasov? Remi Royer? Eric Lecompte?

    Picking Denis Savard in 1980 was a no-brainer. Picking Patrick Kane in 2007 was also a no-brainer. Easy to do when you have a #1 or #3 pick

    Dumas is no longer the head scout. I wonder if the 'Hawks finally caught on that they draft way more misses than hits.

  2. Good background info Sal, makes you wonder why they look so long to can him!

    I forgot to give credit to Chicago on their 83 draft as well. They got themselves a couple really good role players and arguably the greatest 10th round selection ever, Dominik Hasek.

  3. The 'Hawks did not make any wholesale personnel changes until Bill Wirtz died in October 2007.

    Before then, it was an old boys' club and pretty much everyone kept their job as long as they maintained the status quo. Winning hockey games wasn't really a priority, either.

    After Bill Wirtz passed away and his son Rocky took over, many things changed. Bob Pullford was moved away from hockey operations and given a token job (several miles away from the hockey ops people). Even though he wasn't the GM, he still had a lot of say in most matters.

    The team shook up their marketing and scouting departments, changed coaches and fired the GM. Of course, I think Dale Tallon was doing a good job for the most part, so that is the one change I didn't agree with.