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2014 NHL DRAFT: IS SCHMALTZ THE HAWKS GUY AT 27?

By: Mike Peck

IceHogs.com takes a look at Mock Drafts for Friday’s 1st round

Rockford, Ill.- The 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft begins on Friday in Philadelphia and the Chicago Blackhawks will have the 27th pick in the first round.

Today, on IceHogs.com’s continuing draft coverage of this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft, we look at some of the mock drafts published and who the Blackhawks could take with their first round selection.

Most mock drafts have defenseman Aaron Ekblad from the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts pegged as the top pick, currently occupied by the Florida Panthers. But other players to watch at the top overall slot include center Sam Bennett (Kingston, OHL) and center Sam Reinhart (Kootney, WHL).

Before the season ended, Reinhart seemed to be the early favorite as the top selection, but Ekblad has unseated him and looks to be the frontrunner heading into the draft.

As for the Blackhawks, who are picking at the end of round one once again, it’s hard to project who the club will take. The Chicago brass will be doing a lot of sitting and waiting on Friday, watching which players come off the board and which ones fall as the first round progresses.

IceHogs.com looked at seven different mock drafts and for the first time since we’ve covered the draft, one player was listed at Chicago’s spot on more than two mock drafts. Center Nick Schmaltz was listed on four of the seven mock drafts.

Schmaltz was born in Madison, Wis. and resides in Verona.  The 6-0 center played last season for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) and is committed to the University of North Dakota where he’ll play in the fall.  In both of his seasons in Green Bay, Schmaltz tallied 18 goals and last season led the Gamblers with 63 points while playing in 55 games.

Here are some other intriguing players named as potential picks:

Julius Honka (D) Swift Current (WHL): A puck moving defenseman, Honka is listed as a strong, elusive skater. He’s only 5-11, but is offensive minded from the back-end leading all Swift Current blueliners with 56 points in 62 games.  Honka has been projected as high as a top 15 prospect in the draft.

Robby Fabbri (C) Guelph (OHL): The Blackhawks went with a smaller, feisty forward last season with Ryan Hartman and could do the same with Fabbri. At 5-10, Fabbri is listed as a hard working forward with good feet.  Fabbri tallied 87 points in 58 games for Guelph last season, ranking second on the club in scoring.  The Mississauga, Ont. native recently completed is second season in the OHL and the 18-year-old center increased in point production from 33 points during his first campaign to 87 last year.

Kevin Fiala (RW) HV71 (SHL):
As a 17-year-old, Fiala made his professional debut with HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League, notching 3g-8a-11pts in 17 games while also splitting time with HV71-J20. An offensively gifted player, the Uzwil, SUI native is a bit of a work in progress on the defensive side but is just 17-years-old. Fiala has re-signed to skate again with HV71 in 2014-15. 

The following is a list from seven mock drafts with the players that they have the Blackhawks choosing.

 Expert (Publication)
Player Pos. 2013-14 Team
Adam Kimelman (NHL.com) 
Nick Schmaltz C Green Bay (USHL)
Mike Morreale (NHL.com) Robert Fabbri C Guelph (OHL)
Steven Hoffner (NHL.com) Nick Schmaltz C Green Bay (USHL)
Allen Mitchell (Bleacher Report) Julius Honka D Swift Current (WHL)
Draftsite
Kevin Fiala RW HV71 (SHL)
Gus Katsaros (Roto World) Nick Schmaltz C Green Bay (USHL)
Shane Sander (Hockey Writers) Nick Schmaltz C Green Bay (USHL)


Check out IceHogs.com all week as we preview the 2013 NHL Entry Draft

Monday, June 23th:    Draft Breakdown at 27th pick
Tuesday, June 24th:    Mock Drafts
Wednesday, June 25th:    Breakdown of the Blackhawks first overall picks over the past 20 years
Thursday, June 26th:    How the draft has impacted Rockford
Friday, June 27th:    Update on the progress of Chicago’s draft picks from the 2012 and 2013 drafts

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