Blackhawks have amassed sizable yet complicated collection of draft picks

The Hawks own five picks in the first three rounds of both the 2022 and 2023 drafts, but those picks include plenty of conditions to plan around.

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The Blackhawks own five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Right now, the Blackhawks have five picks in the first three rounds of the 2022 NHL Draft and another five in the first three rounds of the 2023 draft.

That’s a good thing, and those numbers might increase further as general manager Kyle Davidson continues the Hawks’ rebuild with future trades.

But the specifics of those picks — with conditions attached to four of them — are unusually complicated. With the 2022 draft in Montreal just more than three months away (July 7-8), the Hawks’ scouting department can’t be certain yet exactly which picks they’re scouting for.

The highest-stakes condition involves the Hawks’ own first-rounder, which will go to the Blue Jackets unless they win the lottery for the first or second overall pick. In that case, the Hawks’ 2023 first-round pick will go to the Jackets.

The Hawks, who entered play Monday sitting 25th in the league standings, currently have a 5.8% chance of getting the No. 1 pick and a 6.2% chance of getting the No. 2 pick. That gives them a 12% chance of keeping the pick.

The Hawks getting the No. 2 pick would spark a fascinating, albeit irrelevant, argument about whether they would be better off relinquishing it and keeping their 2023 first-rounder (not that they would have that option).

The 2022 class has a stud top prospect in Shane Wright, but it drops off significantly after that. Logan Cooley, Matthew Savoie, Juraj Slavkovsky, Simon Nemec, David Jiricek, Joakim Kemell, Danila Yurov and others will be in the conversation for No. 2.

The 2023 class, conversely, is considered much deeper. And the Hawks probably will be equally bad — if not worse — next season, setting themselves up for another high pick, provided they still own it.

On the other hand, even the worst team in the league has only a 44.4% chance of getting a top-two pick in the lottery (and the second-worst team only a 25.7% chance), so the Hawks statistically would be better off with a locked-in No. 2 pick. And the dynamics of the 2023 class might evolve as players’ stocks rise and fall next season, as well.

The condition on the first- or second-round pick the Hawks received from the Wild for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, leaves nothing up to debate.

The Hawks would benefit from the Wild advancing to the Western Conference finals with Fleury winning four-plus games in the first two rounds. That would activate the first-round condition. The Athletic’s playoff probabilities give the Wild a 26% chance of making it that far right now.

But the Wild making it that far also would guarantee the pick would fall between 29th and 32nd. If they’re eliminated before then, the pick would fall between 49th and 60th. That gap surely poses a planning and scouting challenge.

The Lightning’s first-round pick in 2023 (as well as 2024) is top-10-protected, which only would apply if they somehow missed the playoffs. That seems highly unlikely, but it still creates slight uncertainty.

The third round in this coming draft might be rather chaotic for the Hawks, too.

They traded their own third-rounder to the Hurricanes for a 2021 third-rounder, which they used to select defensive prospect Taige Harding, but they own the Maple Leafs’ pick from the Nikita Zadorov trade, the Golden Knights’ pick from the Mattias Janmark trade and the Oilers’ pick from the Duncan Keith trade.

And if the Oilers somehow make it to the Stanley Cup Final with Keith occupying a top-four defenseman role through the playoffs, that pick becomes a second-rounder. So, in an ideal world, the Hawks want a Wild-Oilers matchup and an Oilers victory in the Western Conference finals.

It’s all part of an atypically convoluted set of draft assets with which the Hawks are working. But at least they have those assets.

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