I'm real hyped on McNeil. Sounds like everything we need in a Center going forward. The best part, IMO, is that he's a lot closer to being NHL-ready than some of our other prospects. Very solid pick.
2nd line center potential, size and will stick up for his teammates. He's big at 18 already, hopefully he grows a bit more.
I also like the Danault pick. From what I've read/seen, he's got enough talent to be a potential top 6 guy... but is more likely to be a heart and soul bottom 6er who will do whatever you ask. He seems a bit further off.
I think Saad at 43 was pretty excellent as well. Boom or bust kinda guy, it seems... but with his talent, it was worth the pick. Reminds me a bit of Beach in the way that they project. Could be a great top 6 guy if he puts everything together, a bottom 6 guy if he doesn't. Another big guy too, which I think is good for our pipeline.
Haven't had much time to read about the rest, everyone's excitement over our other picks has got me excited too though.
Does anyone else think that Bowman might sign McNeil to a pro-contract at some point this coming year? With his size and understanding of the game, he might be ready sooner than later to play in the AHL. I've read he should probably play another year in the WHL, but it seems that Bowman likes to take them out of juniors early if he doesn't like their development path.
Per usual it's with a heavy FWIW that I post the following summary by Grant Sonier and Gare Joyce writing for ESPN Insider. According to them the Hawks had the top draft.
Chicago Blackhawks: A
There's a lot to like in the further reloading of the Blackhawks. Mark McNeill offers toughness and enough skill; Phillip Danault's got savvy and hockey sense. In the second round it's either-or with a couple of sliding prospects who are late-birthday alumni of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Both Adam Clendening and Brandon Saad played their best hockey on championship teams in Ann Arbor and then struggled at BU and Saginaw respectively. If one of the two lands, it's a win.
Sonier's Prime Picks: McNeill and Danault both have good chances to play and if Saad finds his game he could surpass both of them. Chicago drafted smart players who, given their hockey sense, have an improved chance to play.