With the last couple of weeks of the postseason unraveling towards a heart pounding finish, I can’t help but indulge myself with a glimpse into a stacked 2015 NHL draft class. The Blackhawks are blessed with a talented squad that could very well be a dynasty and a team forever remember as a legendary legion of red, white, and black. Although this blessing, it comes with a curse of a late first round pick. If a team plays its cards right, digging into tapes, and really getting to know your prospects, a late first rounder not a bad thing. Players like Montreal Canadiens star Max Pacioretty(22nd), Claude Giroux(22nd), star Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov(23rd), and last but not least Corey Perry(28). While not every year there are franchise players waiting to be picked in the twenties, it also doesn’t mean there isn’t. By now you’d think the Blackhawks would have their late 1st round scouting down to a T which either means we have great players brewing to breakout in Ryan Hartman(30th, 2013) or Teuvo Teravainen (19th, 2012), or we have a great pick coming to Chi soon.
THOMAS NOVAK (C) - USA
Tommy Novak is a good sized kid at 6”0 and 181 lbs… Some may be unimpressed by his smaller weight but I say he has a frame big enough to add some bulk, and even if not… Rookie sensation Johnny “Hockey” Gadreau is a few lbs. upwards of 150… Novak has a knack for always knowing where his teammates are, and to add onto that, a great set of hands to go with that. Other than his size and strength, the sky's the limit for his offensive prowess. D-men will bully him unless he bulks up a bit
NHL Comparison: Niklas Backstrom
DENIS GURYANOV - Russia
Denis Guryanov is a young (17) offensive minded sniper who bullies defensemen with his speed and power. He is 6’2” and 193 lbs. which bodes well for physical play. Although he is not huge, he does have a large body and a frame to easily gain 10-15 pounds if he puts in the hours. Ranked as the #7 Euro player, he had 15 G, 10 A, 4 ± , and 25 TP in 23 games played in the MHL (Russian League). He likes to shoot from either face-off circle and if doesn’t like what he sees, DG gets to a place he likes via dangle or barging into the blue paint. Denis is an average defensive player which is no where near bad news for a teenager, given plenty room to grow. Guryanov could be a 4th liner from the get go, if not, AHL stud. His weakness is man to man D and he could pay a price for that when he depended on in 4 v 4 situations for his offense and liability in his own end
NHL Comparison: Alex Ovechkin
NICOLAS MELOCHE - Canada
Nicolas is a defenseman who skates as if were as easy as ringing a bell, he has excellent speed and agility for a younger (17) two-way defender. He is also lengthy (6’3” 200lbs.) and quite large for his age. Nicolas has a great sense for scoring opportunities as he racked up 24 A and 10 G in 44 QMJHL games. Great offensive as well as defensive awareness, always making the smart decisions on the ice. At the top of his performance, he is a game changer. His trouble is staying out of the box.
NHL Comparison: Roman Josi