Photo: Boston College center Kevin Hayes was scoring at close to a point-per-game pace before his junior season was cut short by a leg injury (courtesy of Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks possess a deep pool of blueliners at the collegiate level, from imposing physical presences like Stephen Johns and Michael Paliotta to smooth skaters Justin Holl and Nick Mattson. Centers Kevin Hayes, a first round draft choice in 2010, and Drew LeBlanc, recently signed as a free agent out of St. Cloud State, are also high-profile prospects who developed at the NCAA level in 2012-13.
Photo: Brandon Saad's third period shorthanded goal sealed a 2-1 victory over San Jose on February 22nd, marking the Blackhawks' record-setting 17th straight game without a regulation loss to open the season. (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
The Chicago Blackhawks have had the arsenal of picks to draft for both quantity and quality in recent years, leading to a prospect pool with both variety and depth. The team's top five prospects may stand out due to their overall upside and the likeliness that they will reach that level of play, but the rest of the list is far less clear cut as the prospects have yet to distance themselves from the pack.
Photo: One of the top defensive prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks prospect pool, Dylan Olsen will look to continue rounding out his game in Rockford in 2012-13. (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
A significant number of early-round draft picks in recent years have put the Chicago Blackhawks system among the deepest organizations in the league. Although there may not be much in the way of blue-chip talent, the system has multiple NHL-caliber prospects at each position and plenty of players competing at the AHL level.
The selection of talented Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen added skill and offensive flash to the depth forwards and defensemen in the Chicago system. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Three of the Blackhawks' new additions from the 2012 NHL Draft make their debut in the new edition of the team's top 20 rankings, but the most significant storylines heading into the season belong to the prospects playing at the pro level. The NHL work stoppage will lead to a bevy of talent in the Rockford IceHogs lineup, including players like Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, and Brandon Saad who would have had a good chance of breaking camp with a spot in the Blackhawks lineup.