The upcoming 2020 NHL draft for the Chicago Blackhawks will be intriguing as their direction could go many different ways. As expected with the draft, there are a couple of names that stand out from the get-go. Players like Alexis Lafrenière, a left wing who is projected to the first-overall pick, and Quinton Byfield, a center who is also projected to go in the top five, take the forefront of fans’ interest. However, the players that get drafted in the later rounds can be just as significant.
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There is a name that fits that description as someone that seems like an ideal Blackhawks pick. Someone that I can see the team taking a genuine interest in: Sean Farrell.
Farrell is an 18-year-old left wing from Massachusetts. He immediately gives off Blackhawks’ left-wing Alex DeBrincat-vibes by his stature. Farrell is 5-foot-9 and 179 pounds. He has showcased himself in the U.S. National U17 and U18 teams, as well as the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) Juniors team. This hockey season, he was with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Going forward, he has committed to playing for Harvard University in 2020-21.
When I look at Farrell’s stats, there are two things that stick out to me right away. One being that his assists outweighs his goals. For example, in 2018-19, his stats with the U.S. National U18 team was 11 goals, 27 assists, and 38 points in 64 games. This season with the Steel, his stats were 15 goals, 41 assists, and 56 points in 44 games. His 41 assists were the most in the USHL, indicating that he is a playmaker.
Players like Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane consistently have that same look to their stats. It’s a great sign for how he can build on that when he turns professional. The second thing that sticks out on his stats is his defense. He was a plus-19 during his seasons with the Steel and the USNTDP.
While watching videos of him, it is very apparent that Farrell has a quick and accurate shot. He also looks to have great on-ice awareness. He anticipates plays very well. He is quick to get to the net and the other spots needed to make a play. Take this video of him on Twitter as an example; he read the play and was right where he needed to be to get that goal.
He is also noted for his pristine passing ability as well as speed. He has all the tools that could make him a good, complete player.
Besides Farrell’s obvious gameplay that makes him stand out, there is an aspect that hits home for Chicago. It’s that he played for the Steel. The Blackhawks have some notable players in their system that have played for the team — 23-year-old defenseman Dennis Gilbert was drafted from them back in 2015 and 21-year-old left-wing Josiah Slavin played for them in 2018-19. Lastly, 19-year-old defenseman Alec Regula played for them in 2016-17.
Besides the Chicago connections, he has everything the Blackhawks need in a forward. Speed, defensive skills, scoring ability, and more. Luckily for the Blackhawks scouts, they don’t need to look far for help.
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I believe that he would make an excellent addition to a roster that has Kane. It would add more playmaking depth alongside him. Generally, it would also add more help at both ends of the ice. Farrell’s smaller physique could be seen as a negative, but the team knows what they got in a smaller player like DeBrincat already. Adding another player like him with a little more flare is definitely a sight for sore eyes.
Right now, Farrell is listed at #62 on the NHL’s draft prospect rankings for North American players. He likely won’t be a first-round pick, but afterwards is fair game. The Blackhawks have two second-round picks, two third-round picks, and one fourth-round pick. They have other later round picks, but I have to assume he will go in the second or third round. If he falls into Chicago’s lap, I think he should be considered. You can’t go wrong with adding a player of his caliber.
Farrell’s name is not flashy in this draft class, but maybe it should be. More importantly, maybe it will become just that. If I’m the Blackhawks, I’m taking that chance.