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HawkChat Transcript: Bruce Franklin

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks
Richard Northorp (Saint John, N.B., Canada): Are the Hawks planning on drafting a player who they think is already NHL ready? What are the priorities in selecting draft picks?

Bruce Franklin: Thanks for stopping by the chat. Let's jump into the questions! They're all NHL ready. The question is whether they are ready next year or down the road. Kane, for example, is a year older than Turris and van Riemsdyk so he might be a little more ready. Again, they're all NHL ready it's just a question of 1-3 years usually. But your priorities are to take the best player and down the road if you're trying to pick between a couple guys in later rounds you can look at your depth chart to see what your positional priorities are.

Eric (Chicago): Hi Bruce, Could you describe the difficulty in assessing players with similar skill levels. What ultimately separates 1 versus the other?

Bruce Franklin: With players with similar skills it is tough. Sometimes you go with a gut feeling about what separates the two, sometimes you may go with the recommendations of the team psychologist. It could be a number of factors.

Fran González (Vigo (Spain)): Hi Bruce,my question is this: are you looking for a sniper (Kane) or more a playmaker(Turris)? GO BLACKHAWKS!!!

Bruce Franklin: Throw van Riemsdyk in there and we'll meet up until the afternoon before the draft and make that decision.

John Geimer (Oak Lawn): How would you rate this draft class compared to say, the past couple years (2005's, 2006's)?????

Bruce Franklin: I think that the past two years had more depth at forward.

Vince Naccarato (Des Plaines, IL): Signability... mostly the NFL draft is concerned with if the team can sign a top draftee. Does that ever play a part in the NHL draft?

Bruce Franklin: Our job is to put the list together and get the best player. The negotiation part is Dale's job and for the most part there isn't much negotiation since it's all dictated by the new CBA. As a scout our job is to put the best players in order and the rest is management's job.

Darcy Hermany (Thunder Bay): With the new rules on length of 'prospect ownership' have the Blackhawks' decided to draft more college players as opposed to canadian junior and european players?

Bruce Franklin: I don't think the new rules have much of an effect on what we do as far as prospect ownership. But with the number of players we have signed the past few years, in the later rounds if the players are equal in ability, we may lean toward the college players so we have more time to evaluate them.

Derrick (Batavia): Bruce, hockey folks are always talking about how important 'character' players are. How heavily does character really factor into a potential draftee's evaluation and how do you recognize it?

Bruce Franklin: I think it's very important. The will to win and pay the price for your teammates is crucial. The more chances you get to see the player the better you'd recognize how competitive he is and whether he shows up at home and on the road.

Keith Wilcox (Anaheim, Ca.): Kyle Turris is considered the best prospect in this year's draft. Does a player from a tier II program playing inferior competition to the CHL a major factor in the Hawks deciding the best player to select?

Bruce Franklin: It doesn't make a difference to me. When a player has good ability and you can see it and he dominates, chances are he will be able to dominate or at least be a good player at the next level. When Dany Heatley was in tier 2 he scored 70 goals in 60 games and wasn't eligible for the draft. He's turned out to be a pretty good NHL'er, so playing tier 2 didn't hurt his development at all.

Andrew Green (Atlanta): What do you think about Alexei Cherepanov? Most scouting reports don't have him listed in the top 3, but I think he is the player that could make an immediate impact.

Bruce Franklin: He's a very gifted offensive player. He's the type of player that could change the game when he's on the ice because he can finish really well. He probably isn't listed in the top 3 in those published reports you're reading because of his inconsistent work ethic, but some NHL teams could certainly have him in the top 3.

Matt (Saint John, NB): Bruce, thanks for doing this. We hear the goalie crop is thin this year, is that true in your opinion? Are there specific goalies the Hawks are looking at for the draft? Thanks.

Bruce Franklin: It's probably a little thin, but that's not to say these guys don't have the ability to develop in time. There are some goalies we're considering, yes.

Matt (Saint John, NB): Hi Bruce! How often would members of the Hawks scouting team see each player (live) that was ranked in the 1st round. How about the following rounds 2-7? Thanks!

Bruce Franklin: Our whole staff... each player somewhere between 20-40 times for the 1st rounds. For the later rounds it might be more focused on the regional scout who really had a chance to watch those guys regularly.

zach gossett (Jacksonville Florida): Do you feel that this Draft could be the turning point for the 'Hawks just as the Sidney Crosby draft was Pittsburgh's turning point?

Bruce Franklin: Maybe not so much 'the' turning point, but our luck is definitely turning around because we've missed out on that opportunity the past few years. The turning point will be all of the depth we've accumulated these past few years and watching them come up as a group together and being successful.

Sean Furlow (Naperville, Illinois): Has there ever been a prospect that all you had to do was look at him once and know that he was a "for sure" NHL caliber player?

Bruce Franklin: Yes, but it goes both ways. Sometimes you're sure and he doesn't end up playing in the NHL.

Steve (Lombard, IL): Current wisdom is that small skilled players can prosper in the "New NHL". The Ducks won the Cup with big, quick, gritty players who didn't wear down over the playoffs. Do you consider this fact when evaluating talent for this pick?

Bruce Franklin: Sure you consider it, but those players aren't necessarily available in every draft. Like the year they got Getzlaf and Perry, that is probably one of the best drafts ever.

rob (New Jersey): Hi Bruce, Do you see Pat Kane as a wing or center at the NHL level.

Bruce Franklin: I've always seen Kane as a winger, so I can't really evaluate his play at center.

Dan Prohammer (Naperville, IL): Who's no. 1 on your draft board? I know you probably can't anwwer that so here's my question: How do you feel Patrick Kane's size will affect him on draft day and in the nhl and will that be a deterent for the blackhawks? Thanks.

Bruce Franklin: Players of his stature have gone on and been really good NHL players, so it shouldn't be a major deterrent.

George C. (Palatine, IL): Hey Bruce, Lack of scoring has been the most glaring problem for the Hawks, does that effect the way you approach the draft? As in, it's important to get someone to help right away with the 1st pick?

Bruce Franklin: I don't think it really does. You still have to put your list in order and put who you think is the best on top.

Patrick (Chicago): Good luck at the upcoming draft. When scouting players, what attributes and characteristics do you look for?

Bruce Franklin: Skating, hockey sense, skill, character.

Wade Little (Winnipeg): Did you expect to see Brouwer put a strangle hold on the WHL in 2005-06? Why do you think he was such a force that year?

Bruce Franklin: Not really. But coming to our camp and going back to Moose Jaw for his overage season he became a better leader and was more consistent in both zones and for 60 minutes. He has a tremendous shot which obviously impacts his scoring ability.

Bob Desmet (Batavia, IL): Hello Bruce, You have what I feel is a great stable of talent from previous drafts who are not yet with the parent club. Is there a likelihood that you will be looking to get someone (Patrick Kane?) that can help right away in this year's draft?

Bruce Franklin: We're going to put more players in that stable of talent, whoever we call at #1.

Sean Furlow (Naperville, Illinois): What led you to scouting? Was there a particular scout who led you to your current status?

Bruce Franklin: I got to know some NHL scouts and it seemed like an interesting job. Former Blackhawk scout Jimmy Walker and Canadiens scout Del Wilson recommended me for a position with the Hawks.

BILL PLACZEK (Saint Petersburg FL): Curious as to whether the team has a list and sticks to it or just groups guys as possible 2nd rdrs etc. Do you see a different trend in 1st rd selections than in past years?

Bruce Franklin: We rank the players in order but sometimes you deviate from it depending on what you did in a previous round. If you took two dmen, you probably wouldn't take a dman in the 3rd.

Andrew (New York City): Hi Bruce - Can you tell us what current NHL players Kane, Turris and vanRiemsdyk remind you of? Thanks!

Bruce Franklin: I don't typically like comparing prospects to guys who have already proven themselves. It's unfair to put pressure on them like that.

Michael Greenberg (Ottawa,Canada): If a player is really good on offense but really is not very good defensively, do you think defense is teachable, and so just ignore this flaw as a junior--or will some kids never be able to be good defensively even if they try?

Bruce Franklin: Defense is teachable, but only if the awareness and knowledge of the game is there. If his offensive prowess outweighs his defensive liability, we can supplement with players around him to make for those weaknesses. As long as it's an exceptional talent, like a dominant scorer. You could take a chance on him at a certain price/round ... Thanks for the questions and your interest in the Blackhawks! Hope your interest continues through the draft and on into next season.
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