Episode 2 of the Blackhawks’ On The Clock series aired Wednesday and opened with GM Stan Bowman and VP of Amateur Scouting Mark Kelley discussing what to do with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
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“[Lukas] Reichel’s there, do you like him?” Kelley asked Bowman.
“I like him a lot,” Stan responded. “The question between Reichel and [Kaiden] Guhle is just which has higher value?”
When the Toronto Maple Leafs selected forward Rodion Amirov with the 15th pick, Bowman and Kelley knew at least one of the two players they were eyeing was going to be available at No. 17.
“Do you want the defenseman or do you want the skilled forward?” Kelley asked. “I like the forward cause I think there’s an upside. His ceiling makes him a vital part of a top-six.”
The Montreal Canadiens took Guhle at No. 16, making it a simple decision for the Blackhawks with Reichel still on the board.
“We got him,” Kelley said to Bowman. “We just played it right out. Yesterday, we said if we got him, we’d be really happy.”
Before landing Reichel at No. 17, the Blackhawks considered trading up in the first round for standout Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov. When the Winnipeg Jets were on the clock with the 10th selection, Bowman was spotted showing Kelley a text, presumably between he and the Nashville Predators, who were picking 11th in the draft.
“He said if it’s the goalie, you’ll have to sweeten. I said, ‘What do you want? Tell me the price.” I told him Winnipeg took [Cole] Perfetti.”
A deal between the two sides never came to fruition, and Askrov wound up going to the Predators at No. 11. Regardless, the Blackhawks came away from the 2020 NHL Draft with a solid player, one that they had their eyes on for some time. That is a win for Bowman, Kelley, and the entire Blackhawks organization.