The Chicago Blackhawks are in fresh territory with a top 10 pick in this year's NHL Draft. When Friday night's opening round opens, look for the Blackhawks to differentiate the top prospects based on what kind of "impact" they can make on the team's roster.
With so much variance in opinions on the players outside the top 2-3 picks, it's on the Blackhawks to separate their eventual pick from the pack. If you're trying to predict who that pick might be ask yourself, "who can be the most impactful player?"
"If it's a forward, you're hoping to get somebody who can be in your top two lines and if it's a defenseman you're hoping he can be in your certainly top four, essentially top two, if you're picking this early," said Blackhawks VP/General Manager Stan Bowman, via conference call in Dallas. "That's really where the value is."
Balancing and safe bets, while predicting impact is what makes the draft so interesting.
"I think as you're looking at the different players, you've got to make the assessment. Say you take the top 10-12 guys in this year's draft, they might not all fit that category. That's what we've been spending most of our time on in trying to look at their best qualities. I think some players have a lot of potential. They may not make it there, and then other players are more likely to make it but they don't have a high-end impact on your team.
"Who do we think is going to be able to impact our roster over the next couple of seasons in that fashion? Ultimately, we hope the player we select is going to fit that criteria. Whether he's a forward or a D, he's going to be an impact player for us."
Stay tuned for more notes from Bowman's conference call on chicagoblackhawks.com.