Chicago Blackhawks 2021 NHL Draft: scouting report on first-round pick Nolan Allan

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Second City Hockey 25 July, 2021 - 12:28pm 31 views

Who won the NHL draft 2021?

With three first-round selections following the blockbuster trade that sent Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, the Columbus Blue Jackets emerged as the biggest winner of the 2021 NHL Draft's first round, writes The Athletic's Scott Wheeler. The Athletic2021 NHL Draft: Blue Jackets emerge as big winners of first round

Raiders’ Allan gets picked by Blackhawks in the first round of NHL Entry Draft

Second City Hockey 25 July, 2021 - 07:00pm

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In the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks famously selected Ozzy Wiesblatt, and did so in sign language so his mother Kim White would recognize it.

Shortly after the pick, Wiesblatt took to Twitter to congratulate Allan on the accomplishment.

Congrats al, no one more deserving Chicago you guys got a special one. https://t.co/ayRy1SacMj

— Ozzy wiesblatt (@ozzywiesblatt) July 24, 2021

Allan had a goal and an assist in seven games with Team Canada in their U18 World Championship gold medal showing. Allan also had that total in 16 games with the Raiders in their regular season.

With Allan’s selection, at least one Raider has had their name called in every NHL draft since 2011. Allan is the sixth first round pick in that span (2020—Kaiden Guhle, Ozzy Wiesblatt, 2014— Leon Draisaitl, 2013— Josh Morrissey, 2011— Mark McNeill.

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What are the Blackhawks getting in No. 32 pick Nolan Allan?

On Tap Sports Net 25 July, 2021 - 12:28pm

A deep dive on Chicago's first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Allan already has NHL-caliber skating with potential to be above average if he continues to improve form. He has good straight-line speed and agility, with the ability to change direction quickly when needed and takes on opposing players one-on-one with confidence. Allan also has great balance on his skates, so he’s hard to knock off the puck and can protect it well when it motion. His skating informs every aspect of his game, especially his defense.

Defensively, Allan is advanced for his age, combining his skating and physicality to be active in both the neutral and defensive zones. He’s extremely proficient at preventing zone entries, ranking in the 95th percentile among tracked defensemen, thanks to a tight gap and his lateral quickness to react to rushing players. Allan has good instincts to know when to apply physical pressure to dislodge pucks from other players whether they’re in transition or along the wall. He’s not always looking for a big hit but can certainly deliver if the situation calls for it. Allan’s solid positioning means he’s able to close down passing lanes effectively and he’ll applying his physicality to take out a pass recipient if needed. This type of proactive defensive style is hard to play against and has led to the suppression of both quantity and quality shots.

NOLAN ALLAN LAYS THE BOOM EARLY. #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/jOpNcYrq7x

Lack of refined puck skill is the main thing holding Allan back currently. Despite his above-average skating, he’s hesitant to join the rush and often bobbles the puck when he does and is prone to turnovers when pressured too heavily. Scott Wheeler from The Athletic noted that “his game with the puck already concerns [him] against his peers,” suggesting it would be even more difficult against higher quality players in the NHL and would hinder Allan from reaching his potential. His offense is also severely limited due to low passing opportunities and a mediocre shot, hence the lower point totals so far in his hockey career.

While offense is more of a nice-to-have element and not a necessity for a defender, contributing to play-driving can be the difference between bottom and second pair ceiling. Luckily, there is a possibility that Allan can contribute more offensively than he showed in the WHL. Mitch Brown from EP Rinkside said the following prior to the U18 World Junior Championship this season:

“He’s selective in transition, opting for the safe play too much, but showing the ability to beat forecheckers when he senses an opportunity. There’s more skill than he’s shown so far, too. Perhaps the U18s are when that skill starts to shine.”

Turns out, Brown was on to something.

Otherwise, Allan played as expected in the WJC: his sub-par puck skills resulted in a high turnover rate when in transition but he was defensively strong and physical when needed to shutdown opposing players. He proved he can be effective in a high stakes environment, even with some kinks.

Despite trading away their best defensive prospect, the Blackhawks are still pretty flush when it comes to defenders in their development system. The Blackhawks have been on a drafting spree when it comes to defenders, which is good because it means Allan doesn’t need to be rushed to the NHL. Dubbed “low event hockey personified”, Allan has the foundation on which to build to become a shutdown second-pairing player but definitely needs to work on his puck skills to raise his ceiling. Most commonly, evaluators have him projected for a steady bottom-pair role complimenting a more offensive partner. The Blackhawks will need to be patient with this raw kid if they want him to reach his highest potential.

In comparison to other Blackhawks prospects, Allan is somewhat stylistically similar to Alex Vlasic and Wyatt Kaiser in that all three are good skating defensemen who focus primarily on the defensive side of the game. However, Vlasic is stronger defensively while Kaiser has more offensive upside. Due to a combination of lower age and well-roundedness, Allan is behind both when it comes to projected impact timeline and ceiling in the NHL at the moment.

A Family Affair, The 2021 NHL Draft Class, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

bleachernation.com 25 July, 2021 - 12:00pm

What a weekend, eh? And It’s still only Sunday afternoon.

The Chicago Blackhawks concluded the NHL Entry Draft weekend with a major trade and a draft class that is, at first glance, underwhelming. With the addition of Seth Jones on Friday, the Blackhawks are looking to speed-up the process of getting back into contention in the NHL. Whether they want to admit it or not, this is a move for now, not the future.

•   With an eye on the future, though, here is the full list of the 2021 NHL Draft Class for the Blackhawks…

— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 24, 2021

•   A glaring focus that the Blackhawk had in their draft strategy this year was to get players with size. Only Jalen Luypen, the last pick the Blackhawks made over the weekend, is listed under six-foot tall and under 190 pounds. Chicago wanted to get big, and they did.

•   I’m not opposed to the strategy of drafting big players, but when most of their scouting reports include lines that say something to the effect of “this player will be a bad skater at the NHL level” you get concerned. The Atheltic’s Corey Pronman gave the Blackhawk a “C” grade for their efforts this weekend.

My 2021 NHL Draft grades, with notes on as many players as I could muster. Individual team files are linked within. https://t.co/QD7RUugx4T

Thank you to all for reading and subscribing this draft season.

— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) July 25, 2021

•   Not the worst grade in the bunch, but his NHL Draft counterpart Scott Wheeler had a bit harsher critique of Chicago’s draft class. Wheeler grades the Blackhawks as “Losers” in their year’s draft, ranking them almost dead-last out of the 32 NHL teams.

More: https://t.co/bkJzeqwGwT

— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) July 24, 2021

•   “I’d be surprised if the Blackhawks got one good NHL player out of their eight choices this year.” Lovely.

•   With the Seth Jones trade making waves, and the Draft class leaving something to be desired, the Blackhawks’ weekend leaves me a bit perplexed going forward. Obviously, we cannot judge the draft class too harshly without having them play a “normal” season, but by all accounts, it feels like there’s going to be something missing from the 2021 class.

•   One thing that will be fun to see is the new Blackhawks draft picks mixing with last year’s draft picks at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) July 25, 2021

•   One of, if not the biggest, highlight of the draft from the Blackhawks came when they selected Colton Dach, the younger brother of Kirby Dach, with their second-round pick.

The Dach family reacts to Colton being selected by the #Blackhawks 62nd overall pic.twitter.com/TDtG9jek0b

— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 24, 2021

•   We saw this coming a mile away.

•   Maybe Kirby knew something was coming too…

The @NHLBlackhawks have selected Colton Dach in the @NHL Draft.

He’ll be teaming up with his brother @kdach77 in Chicago. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/AyRZX58MfG

— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 24, 2021

•   It’s not just a pick made to be good PR, though. Colton is a sizable power forward with a similar skill-set to his older brother, but with more of a tendency to shoot-first, where Kirby is more pass-first. It will be a lot of fun to see if the two will one day play on the same line in Chicago.

The Dach brothers are #Blackhawks now pic.twitter.com/cPnasv3ndM

— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 24, 2021

•   It was a weekend full of brotherly love in the NHL. The Blackhawks drafted Colton Dach to go with Kirby, they also traded for Seth Jones to join his brother Caleb, the Devils drafted Luke Hughes to go with his brother Jack, and the Avalanche drafted Taylor Makar to play with his brother Cale.

It’s the #NHL Brothers weekend.

— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 24, 2021

•   Speaking of Seth and Caleb Jones, the two were formally introduced to the city of Chicago and the Blackhawks yesterday.

Now introducing… 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐉𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬 𝐁𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 💥

Welcome to Chicago, Seth and Caleb Jones! pic.twitter.com/l55eI6Y6ap

— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 24, 2021

•   Side note: not sure how I feel about Seth Jones wearing No. 4…

•   Part of the Jones brothers introduction to the city included a quick stop at Wrigley Field.

Meanwhile at the Friendly Confines…

Thanks for the hospitality, @Cubs! pic.twitter.com/dB0czhHsEo

— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 24, 2021

•   After that, the bothers held their first media availability on the Chicago river.

•   Scott Power and Mark Lazerus wrapped up the weekend very nicely in their latest on The Athletic, noting Seth Jones’ recognition of the criticism he faces in the city, but also acknowledging that he is far from being “washed up.” Highly recommend checking it out…

Twelve thoughts on the Blackhawks’ weekend from @MarkLazerus and me https://t.co/wph038glVf

— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) July 24, 2021

•   Lazerus and Powers wrap their latest piece with a poignant message about how the end of the first round of the draft looked and felt for a lot of people. The Montreal Canadiens drafting Logan Mailloux, followed by the Blackhawks being front and center with their selection. A cavalcade of sex crimes and allegations and cringeworthy moments to end the night.

•   For more on the lawsuits and allegations regarding the Blackhawks, I suggest Steve Greenberg’s latest for the Chicago Sun-Times, calling for real accountability from the organization.

.@SLGreenberg on the Blackhawks' alleged sexual assault cover-up:

"Anything less than transparency would be suspect and an egregious disservice to us all — and especially to all those who have been victimized by sexual assault."

His column: https://t.co/MqWYijzw08

— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 25, 2021

•   And for more on the Logan Mailloux situation and the Canadiens, I highly suggest reading this piece from The Athletic’s Arpon Basu.

The Montreal Canadiens should be ashamed of themselves.https://t.co/4LuToyoW4O

— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) July 24, 2021

•   And I’ll leave you with Canadiens Assistant General Manager Trevor Timmins not being able to answer this question from Marc Antoine Godin…

EXACTLY, Trevor’s silence speaks volumes here… pic.twitter.com/3mBd9Z5jb9

— ms. struggle (@thee4thidiot) July 24, 2021

•   A reminder, NHL Free Agency begins on Wednesday.

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your Sunday.

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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