Seabrook and Hjalmarsson tell their draft-day stories

With the NHL draft being held at the United Center on Friday and Saturday, we asked 12 current or former Blackhawks to recall their draft-day experience. This installment features veteran defensemen Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Brent SeabrookTaken in first round (14th overall) in 2003

"I think I had 25 interviews. It's a stressful time. You're always looking for the right answers while being honest and trying to give the teams what they want. It's a nerve-racking time when you're sitting in front of a general manager, scouts, assistant general manager, sometimes the coach. You've got six, seven, eight, 10 guys asking you questions and grilling you.

"The day of the draft (comes) and you don't get much sleep the night before. You're nervous and excited and wondering where you'll have an opportunity to try and make a team. Then you sit there and it feels like time can't go any slower. It's a painful wait to sit there and hear your name called. … It seemed like a lifetime in-between each pick.

"Luckily enough I was called by the Blackhawks. Then the excitement hits you and you do all the stuff below. Pictures, interviews, more interviews. Then you get to see your family and share in their joy. Had a little party afterwards. It was pretty fun."

Niklas HjalmarssonTaken in the fourth round in 2005

"I was by myself in my apartment to be honest with you. I obviously knew it was draft day. But my agent just called me and said that I had been drafted by Chicago and I got real excited. I didn't talk to a lot of teams before the draft - maybe two or three - and Chicago wasn't one of them.

"I didn't care what round I got drafted in. … I was just focused on whoever drafted me, I was going to make the team. That was kind of the mindset right after."

Any negative thoughts about going to a team that had struggled for so long?

"That was a positive for me. That was my first thought - that they weren't doing that well lately and I saw my opportunity to make the team."

  While Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson has become popular in Chicago, he said he was alone in his apartment when he got word that Chicago had drafted him in 2005. Bob Chwedyk/
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