The Chicago Blackhawks have been very blessed in drafts past. In the last two years combined, the Blackhawks have gotten a total of 21 picks, which they have used very well.
This season, however, the Hawks have only eight picks and what looks like more problems than they have had in years past. The goalie position is an immediate need because the stars of the team aren't getting any younger. However, there aren't a whole lot of NHL-ready goalies in this draft.
So how will the Blackhawks use what they have to make it work out and build a team that can make a run deep into the NHL Playoffs next season?
First off, the goalie is a definite need—there is no avoiding that. Since Niemi left after the 2010 Stanley Cup Team, the Hawks have been searching for someone to put in front of the net that they can rely on and have been unsuccessful so far.
Malcolm Subban would be an amazing fit with the team. He could take time to develop (he is 19 right now), and once he's NHL-ready he could step up and be the franchise goalie that the Hawks have been looking for—he is smart and already plays in North America.
There is only one problem; while he's everything that the Hawks need, Subban is not quite NHL-ready yet.
Keeping that in mind, another prospect that the Blackhawks could be looking at getting in the early second round or even first round is right winger Tom Wilson.
Wilson currently plays hockey in Canada, and at 6'4" 200 pounds, he is no small boy out on the ice playing hockey. He is a player that could be ready quickly and would be able to help contribute to the Hawks right away.
Plus, if the Hawks decide that they need a goalie more, they could always use Wilson as trade bait to get themselves a veteran goalie, while Subban develops (assuming that Subban would fall to the second round).
In a perfect world, both of these players would get drafted by the Blackhawks and would be ready to go quickly; however, that is doubtful. That being said, goalie definitely has to be the primary need for them to address.
If they do get Subban and he is the goalie of the future, there has to be somebody that they can trade for to play while Subban is developing. Subban would be ideal and could do wonders for the team in the future, but he needs time to get ready.
While that is going on, the team needs somebody to play right now that they can rely on come crunch time—a role current goalie Corey Crawford has failed to properly fill. If the Hawks decide to go with Subban, other trade picks can go towards getting a goalie for now out of trade from a team who needs to develop young talent.
Regardless of what fans think about the team right now, the goalie position needs to be improved. How the team goes about doing that will be figured out in a few days up in Pittsburgh at the 2012 NHL Draft. Until then, fans can only guess, speculate, debate and wait.