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Chicago Blackhawks NHL Draft Profile: Beau Akey could be another high-end powerplay specialist on the blue-line
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 smooth-skating defensive prospect Beau Akey.
Beau Key Measurables
“Akey is a beautiful, flowing skater with plus-level mobility in all four directions. He can transition pucks up ice, join in transition, walk the line, and fall back onto his heels and edges whenever he needs to. I like him defending the rush, where he uses his feet and stick to manage gaps and steer opposing carriers. I like the way he sees the ice and joins the offence. He can run a power play and likes to make himself available as a shot option at five-on-five.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
“While most eyes have been on Brandt Clarke in Barrie this year, it’s hard to ignore Akey jumping up 30 points this year. He does an excellent job of rushing the puck down the ice from his own zone and he panic-passes the puck far less these days.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
“One of the better skaters among defensemen in this draft, Akey has a good foundation with his footwork. He competes well and can contribute offensively as he had 47 points in 66 games with Barrie this season. Defensively, he still needs work, but the skating tool is such that a team would be very excited to get the chance to work with him and help him round out his game.” – Chris Peters, Flo Hockey
Why Beau Akey fits the Chicago Blackhawks
One of the most important aspects of a draft prospect that the Chicago Blackhawks have repeatedly said that they value under GM Kyle Davidson is skating. If you cannot skate at a high enough level, you’re not going to be a Chicago Blackhawk. Defenseman Beau Akey shouldn’t have to worry about that as he is regarded as one of the best skating defensemen in the 2023 NHL Draft Class. While he lacks “elite” size as a defenseman, he’s not small and he doesn’t play small. Using his footwork to his advantage allows him to close gaps without having to rely on being physical. He vision, skating, and decision-making in the offensive end allow for him to create plays off the rush.
The Blackhawks have a good amount of sizable defensemen coming up the prospect system with Alex Vlasic, Isaak Phillips, Alec Regula, Ethan Del Mastro, and Nolan Allan to name a few. They also have Kevin Korchinski and Sam Rinzel coming up too, who both measure-in at desirable size and have the offensive upside that made them first-round talents in the 2022 NHL Draft. Akey would add that offensive element from the blue-line while not sacrificing much in terms of length. Not even defenseman needs to be in the mold of Brent Seabrook or Shea Weber. While it’s nice, having some players who fit the mold of Erik Karlsson or Roman Josi doesn’t hurt either. Now, not saying Akey will pan-out to be those players, but defensive prototypes don’t need to be rigid to have success.
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