The NHL Entry Draft will occur on June 28 and 29 in Nashville. If it seems like we’ve been looking towards this date since CHGO Blackhawks launched in March of 2022, it’s because we have! The Chicago Blackhawks won the right to draft future superstar Connor Bedard with the first overall pick. However, they currently own 10 picks in one of the deepest drafts in recent years, including six in the first two rounds. With that in mind, the CHGO Blackhawks crew will dive into some of the prospects the team is potentially targeting for some of those picks after changing the course of the franchise with the number one pick.
Today we’re looking at versatile defenseman Oliver Bonk.
Oliver Bonk Measurables
“Bonk was an important player on a strong London team this year, which isn’t always the case for defencemen his age under the Hunter brothers with the Knights, and speaks to the maturity of his game. He’s a pro-built defenceman who plays a firm game, possesses good overall skill, has solid edgework and directional changes, and escapes pressure well. He influences the game through his effectiveness and the consistency of his habits. He just looks like he’s going to be a solid two-way pro defenceman, though I would contend he has a high floor and a relatively low ceiling.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
“A true two-way defenseman, Oliver Bonk will quickly become appealing to teams. Outside Reinbacher and Simashev, the latter of whom has the KHL contract question, there isn’t another defenseman in this draft who has NHL size, mobility, puck-moving ability and can make stops other than Bonk. He’s not sexy, won’t put up big offensive totals or run guys over, but has all the makings of a second-pair defenseman.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic
“A true two-way defenseman who can produce points and pester opposing forwards in the defensive zone, Bonk’s versatility is his best asset. He skates well enough, has good enough size and is a right-shot. His offensive skillset may not portend to a high level of production at the NHL level, but his ability to take care of his own end, engage physically and break up plays to get pucks up ice is certainly attractive.” – Chris Peters, Flo Hockey
Why Oliver Bonk fits the Chicago Blackhawks
It’s not always the sexiest picks that make or break future NHL lineups. You need to have the players that can fly under the radar, play important roles, and be okay being the unsung hero at times. Projecting lineups of future contending teams, Oliver Bonk could be that exact type of player. He’s a jack-of-all trades, master of none type of defenseman who can skate at a high level, is efficient in his own end and can produce offensively to a point where he may never win a Norris Trophy, but he could win-over 32 NHL teams.
The future of the Blackhawks blue-line has a great outlook with a number of young players who fit specific roles really well. Ethan Del Mastro, Isaak Phillips, and Nolan Allan play effective as physical, shutdown-style defensemen. Kevin Korchinski and Sam Rinzel project to be high-end offensive producers. But there’s not a lot of players who can cover all the bases well enough. If they are looking for someone to play on the powerplay, play on the penalty-kill, jump into the rush offensively, play physical, be effective in their own zone, and eat significant minutes, they could find one player to do all of that in Bonk, rather than splitting the duties amongst two or three defensemen.