Since the turn of the century the Blackhawks, like many teams, have had some home run draft picks and some draft picks that didn’t quite pan out, or as we like to call them, busts. We couldn’t possibly go through every pick the Blackhawks have had in those fifteen years of drafting, so I am just examining the first round selections of those 16 drafts.
2015: No first round pick
2014: Nick Schmaltz 20th overall
2013: Ryan Hartman 30th overall
2012: Teuvo Teravainen 18th overall
2011: Mark McNeil 18th overall and Phillip Danault 26th overall
2010: Kevin Hayes 24th overall
2009: Dylan Olsen 28th overall
2008: Kyle Beach 11th overall
2007: Patrick Kane 1st overall
2006: Johnathan Toews 3rd overall
2005: Jack Skille 7th overall
2004: Cam Barker 3rd overall
2003: Brent Seabrook 14th overall
2002: Anton Babchuk 21st overall
2001: Tuomo Ruutu 9th overall and Adam Munro 29th overall
2000: Mikhail Yakubov 10th overall and Pavel Vorobiev 11th overall
5. Kevin Hayes RW
The Chicago Blackhawks drafted Kevin Hayes with the 24th pick right out of high school. An impact in the NHL was not immediately expected, but they hoped in a few years that Kevin would develop into a skilled power forward at the NHL level. Hayes did exactly that, but he wasn’t wearing a Hawks sweater doing it. Hayes, who exercised his ability to become a free agent after completing college, spurned the Blackhawks and signed a two year deal with the New York Rangers. Hayes registered 17 goals, 28 assists, and was a +15 in 79 games during his first season in the big apple. His numbers are not “bust” worthy, but since the Blackhawks failed to sign him and he had a pretty successful rookie season, I consider this a bust on the Hawks part.
4. Jack Skille RW
Jack Skille was another American born player selected by the Blackhawks. Skille attended the University of Wisconsin and made an immediate impact with the badgers leading all Freshmen in scoring. This was a good sign. Skille was beginning to develop into the player the Hawks hoped he would. Skille signed his entry level deal with the Hawks and totaled 25 points in 79 games in a Blackhawks sweater. Skille has never topped 19 points at the NHL level, which he did in the 2010-2011 season with the Blackhawks and Panthers. Still on the board when Skille was picked was Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal.
3. The 2000 Draft
The Blackhawks had consecutive picks in the 2000 Entry Draft at number 10 and 11. I’m going to safely assume that in the following years teams really began to examine the “Russian factor.” Both Mikhail Yakubov and Pavel Vorobiev bolted for Russia after the 2005 season. Yakubov played in 40 games for the Blackhawks and registered just 11 points. Regarded as a highly touted center from Russia, Yakubov never adjusted to the North American game and is still playing in the KHL. Vorobiev, a speedy winger, registered 25 points in 57 games before heading back overseas to play in the KHL, where he is still playing today. Still on the board after these two were picked were Brooks Orpik, Anton Volchenkov, Steve Ott, and Niklas Kronwall.
2. Kyle Beach C
Kyle Beach was a big, nasty center who many believed could have been a top five pick, but he had a bit of an attitude. This didn’t stop the Hawks from taking a chance on the mean center. Beach had at least 60 points in his previous two WHL seasons prior to being drafted. In the 2009-2010 season with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL Beach netted 52 goals and 86 points in 68 games. Beach was ready for the NHL right? Wrong. Kyle Beach never played a game for the Chicago Blackhawks. Beach was traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for Brandon Mashinter. Beach is now trying to make a living in the Austrian league where this past season he had 12 goals and 23 assists. Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson, Michael Del Zotto, and Jordan Eberle were all still on the board when Beach was drafted.
1. Cam Barker D
The 2003-2004 season was not a good one for the Chicago Blackhawks. Finishing the season with just 20 wins and 59 points. The Blackhawks were in a prime position to have the first pick in the draft. They even brought up rookie goaltender Adam Munro to try to cement their last place finish, however Munro had other ideas. Munro registered his first NHL against the Dallas Stars on the last day of the season. The Blackhawks were now tied with the Capitals for second worst. The Capitals would win the draft lottery and jump ahead of the Hawks and Penguins and the rest is history. The Blackhawks thought that getting an NHL ready D-man with the third pick wasn’t all that bad. Cam Barker wasn’t a bad defenseman for the Hawks, but he was expected to be a cornerstone of their blueline for years. Barker’s career high in points was 40, which he achieved during the 2008-2009 season, a year before being traded to the Minnesota Wild for a young defenseman by the name of Nick Leddy.