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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.
Today we profile Gracyn Sawchyn of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
Gracyn Sawchyn Measurables
Position: Center/Right Wing
Weight: 160 pounds
“One of the more gifted puck handlers in the draft, Sawchyn has creativity and the ability to extend plays with his sure-handedness. He averaged a point per game on one of the best teams in junior hockey and has the hockey sense to make a lot of good things happen. Next year, he’ll likely be in a more prominent role for the Thunderbirds as many of their best players graduate out of junior. That should be good for his development as he has a special skill level as it appears the puck is glued to his stick at times.” – Chris Peters, Flo Hockey
“Sawchyn has excellent vision and does well at taking advantage of situations with limited space. He will get the pass off. As I mentioned in the offensive section, he is constantly looking to re-position himself as his teammates shift their own positioning so that way he can constantly provide his teammates with quality passing lanes should they need to pass. That has led to goals at 5v5 for Sawchyn.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
“He’s got extremely quick hands that give him legitimate one-on-one skill and regularly flash in dangling sequences inside the offensive zone. He can beat defenders in transition or in traffic and does a really nice job holding onto pucks, drawing attention, delaying, and then hitting seams as they open.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Why Gracyn Sawchyn Fits with the Blackhawks
With Connor Bedard and Lucas Reichel still potentially being centers for the Blackhawks, Sawchyn would be another smallish player down the middle. However, at least at this point in his career, he projects to be a winger until he gets stronger and adds some power to his stride. He will have at least two more WHL seasons before he transitions to the pro game, so he will have time to bulk up and work on his weaknesses.
Sawchyn’s puck handling and hands are his stronger assets. He generates offense through his creative passing and vision. He played further down in the lineup on a deep roster but still averaged a point per game with 18 goals and 40 assists. He plays just as hard and effectively without the puck as he does when it’s on his stick. He constantly pressures the opponent, finishes his checks, and wins board battles. He is hard to play against and will fit a Luke Richardson-coached team perfectly.
The Blackhawks had a lot of eyes on the Thunderbirds this past season, so their scouting staff has a good idea of whether or not they want to add Sawchyn to the fold. He is a complete player, performing well in all three zones. This bodes well if he wants to be a centerman at the NHL level. He will be a long-term project but could be worth the wait with one of those extra picks in the second or third round, if available.
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