Hawks Insider

Who could be available for Blackhawks at No. 19 overall in 2023 NHL Draft?

The Blackhawks hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, but they also own No. 19 overall

U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 - Semi Final

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – APRIL 29: Otto Stenberg of Sweden celebrating his second goal during the semi final of U18 Ice Hockey World Championship match between Sweden and Canada at St. Jakob-Park on April 29, 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

The Blackhawks winning the 2023 NHL Draft lottery changed everything for the future of the organization. They're going to get a generational player with the No. 1 overall pick, which will inevitably be Connor Bedard.

But what's flying a bit under the radar is just how fortunate the Blackhawks are that they'll also hold the No. 19 overall pick, which was initially acquired from Tampa Bay in the Brandon Hagel trade. A source told me the Blackhawks were expecting 25 to be the best-case scenario when the deal was executed.

"The fact that it's Top 20 is unreal," the source said. "Especially in this draft class where the Top 20 is much deeper than any in recent memory."

The No. 19 overall pick in a draft class like this is probably more valuable than, say, a mid-first-round pick last year. They're going to get an impact-type player who could be part of the new core.

So who could the Blackhawks take at No. 19 overall or target in a potential trade-up scenario? Here are some names to keep an eye on:

Colby Barlow, LW/RW

Barlow is a 6-foot, 190-pound winger who's considered to be a strong skater and can play in all situations. He scored 46 goals this season as the captain of the Owen Sound Attack, which ranked fifth among all OHL skaters. He also saw a 32-point increase from last year, going from 47 to 79. If the Blackhawks are looking for a goal scorer who can also kill penalties, Barlow is a solid candidate. The question is whether he'll be around by the time No. 19 rolls around.

Andrew Cristall, LW

Cristall is a 5-foot-10, 167-pound winger who's known to be an offensive playmaker, even though he's not the strongest skater. In just 54 games with the Kelowna Rockets this season, he recorded 39 goals and 56 assists for 95 points, which ranked fifth among all WHL skaters. Just not sure the Blackhawks would be crazy about adding another undersized forward to the pipeline with the No. 19 pick.

Nate Danielson, C

Danielson is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound dependable center who can play in all situations and has a high motor. His size is also an attractive part of the package. He recorded 78 points (33 goals, 45 assists) in 68 games this season while serving as co-captain for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. It's unlikely Danielson will be available at No. 19, but if he slips outside the Top 10 or 12, he could be a possible trade-up option.

Ethan Gauthier, C

Gauthier is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound center who's skilled offensively and is known to be a hard worker. He checks some boxes the Blackhawks are looking for regarding his skating ability, compete level, and hockey IQ. Gauthier set a career-high in goals (30), assists (39) and points (69) in 66 games this season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL. He also added 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 11 postseason contests.

Riley Heidt, C

Heidt is a 5-foot-10, 178-pound center who's known to be an offensive playmaker. He tied Connor Bedard for first in assists (72) among all WHL skaters and also ranked fifth in points (97) in 68 games this season with the Prince George Cougars. Not bad company. He added eight points (two goals, six assists) in nine playoff contests. If the Blackhawks are looking for some size from their centers, they might have to look elsewhere.

Samuel Honzek, LW/RW

Honzek is a 6-foot-3, 186-pound two-way winger who can play in all situations. He had 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) in 43 games this season for the WHL's Vancouver Giants despite missing multiple months after suffering a leg cut in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Blackhawks could use some size up front in their prospect pool, and Honzek offers a nice mix of skill and hard-to-play-against toughness.

Oliver Moore, C

Moore is a 5-foot-11, 188-pound two-way center who can play in all situations, which includes the power play and penalty kill. He is considered to be one of the best skaters in this draft class, which is a trait that certainly appeals to the Blackhawks. Moore registered 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists) in 61 games this season for the U.S. National Under-18 team, 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 23 games for the U.S. National Development Program, and nine points (four goals, five assists) in seven games for Team USA at the Under-18 World Junior Championship. I'm not sure he'll be available at No. 19, but he could be a potential trade-up option.

Calum Ritchie, C

Ritchie is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-handed shot center who's considered to be a playmaker and power-play specialist. He's not the fastest player, but his compete level stands out, along with his hockey IQ. Ritchie was a point-per-game player this season in the WHL, where he compiled 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) in 59 games as an alternate captain for the Oshawa Generals. He also had nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games for Team Canada at the Under-18 World Junior Championship.

Eduard Sale, LW

Sale is a 6-foot-2, 174-pound winger who's skilled offensively and smart, although he had an inconsistent season. He put up huge numbers for the Under-20 team in Czechia last season (89 points in 39 games) but played a limited role for his pro team this season, accumulating only 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 43 games. Sale's ceiling is incredibly high, and if he reaches his full potential, he could be one of the better players in this draft class. Are the Blackhawks open to the idea of a high-risk, high-reward selection?

Axel Sandin-Pellikka, D

I don't expect the Blackhawks to take a defenseman in the first round because of the forward-heavy class, but it's worth mentioning at least one. Sandin-Pellikka is a 5-foot-11, 176-pound gifted puck-moving defenseman whose name is rising on boards. He dominated the J20 level in Sweden, where he registered 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 31 games this season. The only concern: I doubt the Blackhawks would use the No. 19 pick on an undersized defenseman. Perhaps Oliver Bonk, who's 6-foot-2, 180 pounds fits the profile better.

Otto Stenberg, RW

Stenberg is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound winger who can absolutely fly. He's got a great shot, can score goals, handle the puck well, and play center or wing. If the Blackhawks are looking for a scoring winger who can skate, he could certainly be an option. Stenberg tallied 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 29 games this season at the J-20 level in Sweden.

Charlie Stramel, C

Stramel is a 6-foot-3, 212-pound center who's a strong skater and competes hard. He can play in all situations and projects to be more of a middle-six forward at the NHL level. He's got a lot of appealing qualities, which most notably include his size. Stramel had a quiet freshman season at Wisconsin, where he was limited to only 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 33 games.

Brayden Yager, C

Yager is a 5-foot-11, 166-pound do-it-all center. He can score, defend, and play in any situation. His name has fallen on draft boards from the beginning of the season, but he still projects to be an impactful two-way center in the NHL. Yager served as an alternate captain this season for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, where he produced 78 points (28 goals, 50 assists) in 67 games. He also had 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 10 postseason contests.

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