An overview of the Blackhawks’ seven 2015 NHL Draft picks, including what hockey operations staff are saying and where they're likely to play next year.
Graham Knott, LW/C
Acquired: Round 2, 54th overall
Current team: Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Projected 2015-16 team: Niagara
The Blackhawks didn’t have a first-round pick, so their first selection of the draft was Knott, a strong, versatile Canadian forward who is coming off a 25-goal, 18-assist campaign with Niagara. Multiple scouting reports say Knott brings maximum effort to every shift and plays two-way hockey. Blackhawks Amateur Scout Jim McKellar commended Knott’s ability to play a 200-foot game and noted that his time playing on a line with Dylan Strome and Mitchell Marner -- both top-4 picks -- at the U18 World Championship aided in his development.
Dennis Gilbert, D
Acquired: Round 3, 91st overall
Current team: Chicago Steel (USHL)
Projected 2015-16 team: University of Notre Dame (H-East)
The Blackhawks were able to keep a close eye on their second selection -- a puck-moving defenseman from Buffalo, N.Y. -- because he played in Chicago last season with the Steel.
“Every time we went to see him, his game went to a different level,” Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Kelley said at the draft in Florida.
Gilbert played in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects All-Star Game, and that’s when he started to flourish, according to Amateur Scout Mike Doneghey, who added that he was very impressed Gilbert’s testing at the combine in addition to his off-ice interview.
Ryan Shea, D
Acquired: Round 4, 121st overall
Current team: Boston College High School
Projected 2015-16 team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
When describing Ryan Shea, Doneghey said to picture defenseman Keith Yandle. Both are smooth-skating puck movers who were “behind the curve” coming out of New England prep school. In his final year of high school hockey, the Milton, Mass., native scored six goals and dished out 29 assists for 35 points. Shea will play for the Youngstown Phantoms next year before joining Northeastern University for the 2016-17 season.
Radovan Bondra, RW
Acquired: Round 5, 151st overall
Current team: Kosice HC (SVK)
Projected 2015-16 team: Vancouver (WHL)
One of the first things that stands out when looking at Bondra is his size: He’s listed at 6 foot 5 and 218 pounds. Blackhawks European Amateur Scout Karel Pavlik praised Bondra’s ability to use his size to his advantage, especially in one-on-one situations, which he demonstrated at 2015 World Juniors with Team Slovakia. Bondra is a versatile player who has high skill to go along with his size and can play on the power play and penalty kill.
Bondra was drafted eighth overall on Tuesday in the CHL Import Draft by the Vancouver Giants, and could make the jump to North American hockey next season.
Roy Radke, RW
Acquired: Round 6, 164th overall
Current team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Projected 2015-16 team: Barrie
The Geneva, Ill., native played a few years of prep hockey -- the final year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota -- before signing with Barrie in the OHL. The 18-year-old, like most of the Blackhawks’ picks this year, has good size at 6 foot 2, 205 pounds. McKellar noted that even with that size, Radke is a very skilled skater, and more games played in Barrie will only help his development.
Joni Tuulola, D
Acquired: Round 6, 181st overall
Current team: HPK (SM-liiga)
Projected 2015-16 team: HPK
Tuulola would have played for Finland at World Juniors last year, likely seeing some time on the power-play unit, but an injury prevented him from joining the team. He was injured again late in the season, but with good size and puck-carrying skills, he does have a lot of upside.
John Dahlstrom, RW
Acquired: Round 7, 211st overall
Current team: Frolunda J20 (SWE)
Projected 2015-16 team: Frolunda J20
Head European Amateur Scout Niklas Blomgren describes the Blackhawks’ final pick in the 2015 draft as a goal-scorer who is good around the net and has solid hockey sense. He played at several levels with Frolunda last season, breaking out with the J20 team with 20 goals and 35 points in 28 regular-season games, plus five more tallies in the playoffs.