Olczyk, Keith share their draft-day stories with Blackhawks

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Eddie Olczyk, who played 16 seasons in the NHL, was a first-round pick by the Blackhawks, his hometown team. He also played for Team USA in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

    Eddie Olczyk, who played 16 seasons in the NHL, was a first-round pick by the Blackhawks, his hometown team. He also played for Team USA in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Associated Press

  • Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, left, was the 54th overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft.

    Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, left, was the 54th overall pick in the 2002 NHL draft. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/20/2017 2:02 PM

With the NHL draft at the United Center on Friday and Saturday, we asked 12 current or former Blackhawks to recall their draft-day experience.

For Day 2, we hit the way-back button and talk with one of the best D-men in NHL history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eddie Olczyk Third overall pick in 1984The Chicago-born Olczyk thought New Jersey was going to take him with the second overall pick, but the Devils ended up taking Kirk Muller instead. The next two teams were the Kings and Maple Leafs.

Said Olczyk: "I didn't think I was going to L.A. because they were interested in a defenseman. I thought maybe there would be a chance I could end up in Toronto.

"And then there was a time out on the floor."

Did he know what was happening at the time, that Hawks GM Bob Pulford was making a deal?

"I really didn't. But I did see Pully over by the Devils table (talking to director of Player Personnel) Marshall Johnston. Then they come up and say, 'There's been a trade.'

"That's when the heart started racing. … All kinds of things ended up happening, and (Blackhawks scout) Jack Davidson gets up there and says, 'Eddie Olczyk.'

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"And I was just like, 'Wow. I just got drafted by my hometown team.'

"If you look at the footage there, I was like a deer in headlights. I hugged my mom and dad. … I was like, 'I just got drafted by the Hawks.' It was the greatest thing ever."

Note: The Hawks took Bobby McMillan from the Devils and traded them Rich Preston so they wouldn't take Olczyk with the second pick.

Duncan Keith Taken in the 2nd round (54th overall) in 2002"I wasn't really sure exactly what round I was going to go in. I wanted to be a first-round pick, but I'm sure everybody will say that. … The scouts had their minds up on different guys. It is what it is.

"The biggest thing for me was I knew that was just a steppingstone to try and prove that I can be an NHL player. I was never happy with just being drafted. … It was time for me to show the organization that believed in me that they made the right choice."

On the Hawks struggling at the time:

"I didn't really pay too much attention to how the team was doing then. So focused on so many things. Trying to develop. Get drafted. Impress teams.

"Once I knew it was Chicago, I was excited. It's an Original Six team. I knew that they'd had a lot of great players. Chris Chelios and many more. I was just proud to be a part of it and (wanted) to work my way up."

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