On the strength of their first three picks and a 4th round steal, The Hockey News has given the Blackhawks an A+ grade and declared them the second biggest winner at the 2005 Entry Draft behind Pittsburgh and top pick Sidney Crosby.
Dennis MacInnis, Director of Scouting for International Scouting Services, writes in the August 16 edition of The Hockey News that the Blackhawks "made it two strong drafts in a row with good choices in selecting power forward Jack Skille (rated 13th, taken seventh), then following up with under-rated Mike Blunden (rated 27th, taken 43rd) and two very creative offensive guys in Danny Bertram (rated 26th, taken 54th) and Denis Istomin (rated 48th, taken 113th)."
"We certainly feel like we had a strong draft," said Stan Bowman, Blackhawks special assistant to the general manager. "It's always nice to have other people validate something we already strongly believed."
The Blackhawks were one of just five teams to receive an A+ grade, along with Pittsburgh, Colorado, Edmonton and the New York Rangers. Chicago selected eight players rated in ISS's top 125.
Skille, Blunden and Bertram are all expected to attend the Blackhawks' Prospects Camp starting August 29.