We have already taken a look at the Blackhawks' top draft pick, Mark McNeil, but Chicago drafted several other players that have a shot at helping them out in the long term. Of all of those picks (a total of 11) there are some players that have a great chance of contributing early on in their careers.
Which players are they? Aside from McNeil, let’s take a look at three draft picks that could have an impact with the Blackhawks some time down the road.
Danault, a left winger, was drafted in the first round, No. 26 overall, in the 2011 NHL entry draft. Because he is a raw talent, he will need some fine tuning but will get that as he works his way through the minor leagues. He loves to play the game hard each and every time he’s on the ice and craves contact.
He also brings some nice speed to the position and moves well on the ice. He can also protect the puck well.
Danault’s teammates really seem to like him, and he gets along with them both on and off the ice. He has been tabbed as a team leader as well. He has the ability to protect his teammates on the ice and will help keep them in line when it’s needed.
His ability to play defense is solid and he plays with a lot of speed and intensity. He has improved his play over the course of the last couple of seasons and has become a real weapon on offense.
This high motor guy will impress and at some point he will end up working his way into the Blackhawks' lineup and become an important part of their future.
Saad, a left winger, was the Blackhawks' second pick of the second round (43rd overall) and gives them someone that they could bring up in the future to contribute. As you might expect out of a second-round selection, Saad does have some work to do on his basic skills, but he’s still a very capable player with a lot of upside.
Saad displays a lot of power and isn’t afraid to tie it up in the corners. He’s also very intelligent and likes to take his opponent to the boards and battle for the puck. It’s also been noted that he has a lot of power in his shot and hasn’t been injured much during his hockey career. He’s also very intelligent and he learns new things quickly.
Some other positive attributes that he has include good awareness, excellent accuracy and the ability to play right wing or center.
He has been guilty of having a problem in getting nailed with a lot of penalties due to his physical play and he will need to get better about cubing that when he reaches the NHL. There are times when Saad may not be as consistent as some would like and needs to clean up some of his basic skills.
Paliotta, a defensemen, was drafted by the Hawks in the third round (70th overall) and has a future as a defenseman on the team. Some of his positive qualities include his being a member of the team that won the Gold Medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation tournament this year. He has been a proven winner and the Blackhawks like those kinds of players.
He has the size and speed that teams like in a defenseman and has a lot of room to grow. He has improved his skill and ability each and every season and will continue to build on his abilities. Looking at his size, he is tall and needs to work on being able to control his body in certain situations on the ice.
Paliotta has a nice shot, can move the puck down the ice well and can pass the puck with ease. He does play with a lot of confidence, which is nice but does have some work to do to help refine those skills so he can become a full-time consideration in the NHL.
He hasn’t shown a lot production over time but this may not be so much of a negative depending on how the Blackhawks would use him.
Giving him time to develop (he will be attending the University of Vermont) will help him build up his skills and abilities, and in a few short years he should be able to help the Blackhawks. Keep an eye on him in school to see how he develops and see how he might benefit Chicago in the future.