Hawks Insider

Blackhawks trade up to No. 27 overall, select Marek Vanacker

NBC Universal, Inc.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

LAS VEGAS — The Chicago Blackhawks traded back into the first round with the Carolina Hurricanes by acquiring the No. 27 selection in exchange for picks No. 34 and No. 50.

And with the No. 27 overall pick, the Blackhawks select forward Marek Vanacker.

“Honestly I’m kind of speechless," Vanacker said. "It’s an amazing feeling and something I’ve worked towards my whole life. To have this happen on this night, it’s super surreal.”

The Blackhawks were unsure if Vanacker would be available to them seven spots later, so they took matters into their own hands by going out and getting their guy.

"There was some tense moments there where we didn't know if Marek would make it to us just with all the team trading up and us not being able to get a trade over the finish line," Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson said. "It was just something that was always, we knew there was an option because there were teams willing because they didn't have many picks in the second or third rounds so there was the option there and I'm just glad were we able to get one over the line with Carolina and pick Marek."

Vanacker, 18, led the OHL's Bulldogs this season in goals (36) and points (82), and ranked second on the team in assists (46) in 68 games. He also added seven points (three goals, four assists) in six postseason contests.

What makes his numbers even more impressive is that he played the majority of the season with a torn labrum. He had surgery for it a few weeks ago and was put on a 4-6-month timeline, which means he isn't expected to be available for the start of the season.

Vanacker is the teammate of Blackhawks prospect Nick Lardis, who was drafted in the third round by Chicago last season. The two of them play together with the Bulldogs.

"He really got an opportunity when Nick Lardis got hurt and he kind of filled in Nick's role," Blackhawks chief scout Mike Doneghey said. "He can score but he's just from the top of the circle down, along the boards, to net front, he's the first guy in. He controls the play, controls the puck, ultra competitive and he can score. Put into a lesser role when Nick came back but going forward he's going to be a really good player."

Click here to follow the Blackhawks Talk Podcast.

Contact Us