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One minute remaining: Blackhawks have found gems in later rounds

by Harvey Wittenberg / Chicago Blackhawks

Last week's trade with Carolina has given the Blackhawks a second-round pick (50th overall) in Buffalo this week, and based on recent drafts, Senior VP/GM Stan Bowman's scouting staff has been able to make some excellent choices, even in the late rounds.

Recent second-round winners that came around the 50th selection include Duncan Keith in 2002 (54) and goalie Corey Crawford (52). Also, current radio analyst and former player, Troy Murray, was taken at No. 57 in the 1980 third round and later became the first Blackhawk to win the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward.

The Blackhawks will also get the 83rd pick in the third round, plus six more picks in rounds 4-7. Three current Blackhawks with Stanley Cup rings were drafted after the third round: Niklas Hjalmarsson (4th round, 108th overall in 2005), Marcus Kruger (5th round, 149th overall in 2009) and Andrew Shaw (5th round, 139th overall in 2011). The 2010 Cup winners included three late round picks: Troy Brouwer (7th round, 214th overall), Dustin Byfuglien (8th round, 245th overall) and Adam Burish (9th round, 282nd overall).

Other notable late-round Blackhawk draft picks include Steve Larmer, who was taken as a sixth-rounder (120) and won rookie of the year honors in 1980. Larmer ranks third all-time in franchise goals, fourth in points and seventh in games played. Eric Daze was a fourth-rounder in 1993 (90) and ranks 12th all-time in franchise goals. Defenseman Bob Murray, now Anaheim's GM, was a third-rounder (52) in 1974 and ranks fourth in games played in a Chicago uniform.

There are several other late-round draft picks that enjoyed successful seasons in Chicago. Darryl Sutter was an 11th-rounder (179) in 1978. Brian Noonan was chosen in the ninth round (179) in 1983. Olympian Jack O'Callahan was taken in the sixth round (96) in 1977, and Jake Dowell was picked in the fifth round (140) in 2004.

A fourth-round selection in 2013, promising forward Tyler Motte might be a Blackhawks sleeper. After finishing at the University of Michigan, Motte joined Rockford for five games at the end of this season and had two goals and three assists, in addition to two goals in three playoff games with the IceHogs. He also played in the recent World Championship with Team USA. Chicago native Vincent Hinostroza also played with the U.S. team, in addition to appearing in seven games with the Blackhawks. He was a sixth-round pick (169).

While the 50th pick in the second round and the 83rd in the third round in the upcoming draft is not a guarantee to land a NHL future star, based on the Blackhawks' recent track record, let's hope another gem will be uncovered!

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