The 2015–16 season for the Chicago Blackhawks certainly had its ups and downs. In a season that included Patrick Kane’s historic point streak, Artemi Panarin‘s sublime rookie campaign, and two prospects winning the NCAA Division I Championship (more on that in a bit) – but also some off-the-ice issues – the Blackhawks’ season came to an early end, falling to the St. Louis Blues in game seven of the Western Conference Semifinals.
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»
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.