To say the Chicago Blackhawks have a fondness for developing players in Europe and at the collegiate level is an understatement. 23 prospects laced up either overseas or in college for the 2015-16 season, and a handful had standout seasons for their respective teams. This route of developing talent has become a recent trend in Chicago, with Jonathan Toews, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Teuvo Teravainen being just a few success stories for the Blackhawks. Read more»
In recent years, Russia has become a better producer of quality goaltenders. Proof of that is the number of NHL-drafted netminders competing in the KHL and minor leagues, which is in a modest growth trend. Many young, Russian goalies are experiencing an upward career progression, and almost all the goaltenders drafted in the last few years have an excellent chance of becoming solid NHL players, with the exception of Sergei Kostenko, who was a seventh round pick of the Washington Capitals in 2012. Read more»
After the Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on June 15th, the great debate began again as to whether or not Chicago is considered a modern-day dynasty in the NHL. Winning three Stanley Cups in just six seasons, especially in the salary-cap era, is no easy feat, but the Blackhawks have continued to be the cream of the crop come the postseason. While free agent signings and trades always help add depth to a team like the Blackhawks, it’s to smart drafting that Chicago can credit a fair amount of its success.
Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has seen the enormous potential in scouting both European and collegiate players, and nothing shows this more than his recent draft history. In the last two drafts, 12 of Bowman’s 17 selections would skate in either the NCAA or Europe the very next season. There’s clearly no rush to get these young guns to the NHL just yet, so allowing these prospects to perfect their game in their respective leagues has been crucial for their development. Several Blackhawks prospects will also have a chance for an NCAA Championship at the 2015 Frozen Four as well.
Traditionally a weak area for Russian teams, goaltending is an area where that country has managed to catch up and more consistently develop good players. Two of the best NHL goalies – Semyon Varlamov (COL) and Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ) – are from Russia, and there are a few more younger netminders who can repeat those achievements should the youngsters continue to progress as they are doing now. Read more»