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Chicago Blackhawks NHL Draft Profiles: Danny Nelson brings size & a top-notch transition game

Greg Boysen Avatar
June 21, 2023

The NHL Entry Draft will occur on June 28 & 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.

Our next profile is Danny Nelson of the US National Team Development Program.

Danny Nelson Measurables

Position: Center
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 205 lbs.


The Athletic (Scott Wheeler): #50
Flo Hockey (Chris Peters): #43
NHL Central Scouting: #22 NA Skaters
Elite Prospects: #43


“I watch Leon Draisaitl to try and model my offensive game after him. The way he protects the puck and makes plays down low is really impressive. That’s something I want to try to bring to my game and improve upon, offensively.” – Danny Nelson, NHL.com

“His net-front ability has created a lot of chances and goals for the NTDP this past year, and his distribution in transition is simple but effective enough. He anticipates play quite well and flashes (rarely) lane-switching, angle changes, and decisive middle-lane attacks in transition.” – Sebastian High, Dobbler Prospects

“His motor and skating have been questions for some, but when he keeps his feet moving, he’s a lot to handle, he can stick with pucks, and he can take possession off the wall to the interior where he’s got an NHL shot.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Video Highlights

Why Danny Nelson Fits with the Blackhawks

Nelson is a player that should be there for the Blackhawks with any one of their second-round picks. He gives you size down the middle, as the former defenseman has progressed well since moving to center. He has risen up the draft boards after a fantastic season with the USNTDP at the U18 level and in the USHL. Scouts took notice of his 16 points during his final 16 games. He will need plenty of time to develop a pro game, but the Blackhawks have nothing but time on their hands.

When you break down Nelson’s game, what he does in transition gets scouts the most excited. He moves well for a bigger player. While his skating needs work, he is tough to get off the puck when his feet are moving. He excels at zone exits and entries and will attack the middle of the ice, where he uses his body to get inside position.

Nelson’s projections have him as a third-liner at the NHL level. As we know, you must have a deep team with four effective lines to win the Stanley Cup. Nelson gives you some size and skill on your bottom six. He goes to the dirty areas of the ice, wins the puck battles along the boards, and creates space for skilled linemates, all while being able to puck in the net, too, with a heavy shot. He needs to work on his speed and acceleration and will have plenty of time to do so at a top college program, as he is committed to playing at the University of Notre Dame starting in 2024-25.

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