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.
In just one year, the Chicago Blackhawks have seen the top end of the prospect pool experience a transition period. Since last spring’s Top 20, the Blackhawks’ top prospect, Teuvo Teravainen, and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk are now both full-time members of the club, while two skaters, Stephen Johns and Michael Paliotta, were sent out in trades. Furthermore, Philip Danault and Marko Dano, who were featured in the Blackhawks’ Fall Top 20 for the 2015–16 season, were sent out at the trade deadline, and surefire Calder Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin has graduated.
It was well-advertised the 2015-16 season would be a transitional season for the Chicago Blackhawks. After losing several players through trades and free agency, there was no doubt the defending Stanley Cup champions would need their rookies to contribute big time at the NHL level. Not only have these prospects been contributing, but they have become important pieces in Chicago’s title defense, some in unexpected ways.
The Rockford IceHogs had a stellar 2014-15 season, making the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009-10. Despite being eliminated by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the IceHogs made tremendous strides, which have carried over to this season. At the time of this writing, the IceHogs sit atop the Central Division with a 27-10-3-4 record.
This season, no NCAA hockey conference features more NHL prospects than the Hockey East Association (HEA). 62 drafted players representing all 12 member schools will be in action in the 2015-16 season with Boston College leading all Hockey East teams with 13 prospects, followed by Boston University with 10 and Notre Dame with 9. Read more»