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Chicago Blackhawks NHL Draft Profile: Wisconsin's Charlie Stramel brings a physical two-way presence
We are just three weeks away from the 2023 NHL Draft. This has shaped-up to be one of the deepest, front-loaded draft classes in a long time and could rival that of previous draft classes like 2003 or in 2015. At the top of the draft are the Chicago Blackhawks with the first overall selection and they will undoubtedly be taking the top-overall prospect for the past three years in this draft class, Connor Bedard. But that’s not the end-all, be-all for the Blackhawks in this year’s draft. The club has six picks in the first two rounds and nine picks in the first 100 selections, so as we approach draft week in Nashville, we’re taking a look at the players we on the CHGO Blackhawks crew think would fit the needs of the Blackhawks in their rebuilding efforts.
Today we look at sizable center Charlie Stramel.
Charlie Stramel Measurables
“He has a good base level of skill and uses his size effectively when it comes to protecting the puck. He still has room to grow when it comes to being a physical presence away from the puck. Stramel has a good shot that he uses off the rush, going north-south. He lacks lateral agility but could be a very good off-puck winger who can get himself to the net offensively.” – Tony Ferrari, The Hockey News
“There’s no shortage of teams that want the services of the 6-foot-3, 216-pound forward with a high hockey IQ. Sure, the offense didn’t follow, but he’s a pain in the rear end to play against.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
“A massive center who can play a strong two-way game, Stramel had an underwhelming season at Wisconsin. This is more of an upside play based on his total body of work. Stramel has a good shot and good skating ability. His athleticism will attract teams looking to getting bigger down the middle. Stramel plays a physical game and is very difficult to knock off the puck. This season certainly raised some concerns about his overall hockey sense and if the offense would get there consistently enough, but Stramel has showed enough versatility to make the case he’s going to find a role in the NHL.” – Chris Peters, Flo Hockey
Why Charlie Stramel fits with the Blackhawks
Don’t let the down year as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin fool you. Everyone at the program had a down year. Stramel’s physical tools, athleticism, and skating ability make him a desirable target for any team picking between the 20’s and late-30’s in this year’s draft. He may not light-up the NHL for 30+ goals a season, but his ability to play a physical game down the middle and get to the net give him a good shot at sticking around in the NHL for a long time being a garbage man and willingly going into battles in the corners and at the front of the net.
Looking at the top prospects in the Chicago system that project to play center or have a chance to play center, the physical presence isn’t there. Likely top-overall pick Connor Bedard may play center in the NHL but clocks-in at 5’11” and 185-pounds. Frank Nazar is of similar size and Lukas Reichel isn’t going to be packing on the pounds to make a significant impact in his game physically. The Blackhawks have some size on their wings and down their lineup, but a player who could be effective as a third-line pivot and chip-in offensively and is built like a linebacker sounds hard to pass-up. Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson has emphasized targeting players with high-character, high-skill, high-motor, and high-compete levels, and while the puck skills for Stramel aren’t elite, he checks the rest of the boxes the organization is looking for.
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