The dog days of summer are finally here for hockey fans. All the excitement of the draft has finally evaporated and Free Agent Frenzy has passed. As of now, NHL teams are holding their prospect development camps to get an idea of how their new shiny toys stack up versus their other prospects.
October appears to be a light-year away. Fortunately for you, Frozen Futures has you covered. Each day we will be going over the Top 20 Prospects for a team in the NHL. From Anaheim to Winnipeg, we have you covered. This post is the Chicago Blackhawks Top 20 Prospects
We will consider all players who have played in 65 NHL games or less before the age of 24 as prospects.
The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup three of the past six seasons. Becoming a modern dynasty uses up a lot of resources and this has hurt the Blackhawks in terms of prospects in their system. The last time the Hawks picked in the top 15 of the NHL draft was in 2008 when they took Kyle Beach 11th overall. That didn’t turn out so great, but it didn’t hinder them at all.
The cream of the crop for the Blackhawks is easily Teuvo Teravainen. Going into the 2012 NHL Draft he was projected as a top 5 or top 10 pick, yet managed to slide to the Blackhawks at 18th overall. Teravainen isn’t a big player, but makes up for his size with his knack of making smart passes and offensive game.Mar 13, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Marko Dano (56) against the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 5-4 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Fresh face, Marko Dano, acquired in the Brandon Saad trade is the Blackhawks’ second best prospect. He is similar to Teravainen in stature and is a versatile offensive-minded winger. The Blackhawks are going to rely on cheap, young scoring to supplement their current roster, and Dano certainly fits that bill… for now.
Ville Pokka, the two-way, right-handed defenseman from Finland is the third best prospect in the Chicago system. His game is super well rounded, and he should get NHL time this season.
Fourth in the rankings is Artemi Panarin. Last season Panarin was fifth in KHL scoring with 62 points for SKA St. Petersburg. Signed by the Blackhawks during their run for the Stanley Cup, Panarin is another superb addition to the Blackhawks forward core.
Rounding out the top five is University of North Dakota centerman Nick Schmaltz. Last year Schmaltz made the NCAA NCHC All-Rookie Team.
For a team that picks late in each round, the Blackhawks currently have a pretty strong system. General Manager Stan Bowman and his scouting team aren’t afraid to draft out of the USHL or other smaller leagues. Typically prospects drafted out of those programs take longer to develop, which is fine for the Blackhawks as they haven’t needed immediate help since Stan Bowman took over.
Who do you think is the #1 prospect in the Calgary Flames system? Vote in the poll below!
Come back tomorrow for the Colorado Avalanche Top 20 Prospects rankings!