In the inaugural edition of our Blackhawks prospect awards, Hockey's Future takes a look at some of the standouts within the Chicago organization. From skill categories such as "Hardest Shot" and "Fastest Skater" to season-specific awards for players exceeding and not meeting expectations, this piece will sift through the crowded prospect pool for players who stand out above the rest. The winner for each category was determined by the team writer with assistance from the HF staff.
Team Depth Chart of NHL Prospects
- Depth and talent of center prospects
- Defensive prospects mix size with mobility
- Overall depth of system is strong
- Little depth on wings, particularly right side
- Lack of an elite goaltending prospect
Legend of Players' Leagues
- Playing in N.A. Pro (NHL, AHL, ECHL, etc.)
- Playing in CHL (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)
- Playing in NCAA
- Playing in Europe
- Playing in Junior 'A' (USHL, BCHL, AJHL, etc.)
- Not Categorized Yet
The Blackhawks have an extensive amount of prospects playing in either the NCAA or European levels of hockey. The organization has a particularly large amount of defensive prospects at both levels, with a combined 11 blueliners among the group.
Adam Clendening, D, Boston University Terriers (Hockey East)
Offensive-defenseman Adam Clendening managed to surpass his impressive freshman point totals in his second year with Boston University. As a sophomore, Clendening led the Terriers blue line with 33 points in 38 games. Active at both ends of the ice, he ranks second on the team in shots on goal and ranked third on the team with block shots.
The Chicago Blackhawks maintain one of the deepest prospects pools in the NHL after several years of gorging on draft picks in the NHL Entry Draft. Though the organization may not feature any blue-chip prospects, there are a number of players at each position who could eventually step in and complement the core in Chicago.
Once a defense-heavy prospect system, Chicago has taken steps to fleshing out their numbers on the wings and in net in recent drafts. The blue line is still an area of strength with former first round pick Dylan Olsen currently playing with the Blackhawks and collegiate prospects such as Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns making their mark in the NCAA.
The Chicago Blackhawks' AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs are again icing one of the youngest teams in the AHL in the 2011-12 season. The 'Hogs have four more rookies playing regular roles already this year and four others who have found part-time work in the AHL lineup.
The team has been led by a new coach behind the bench in Ted Dent, a longtime assistant in Rockford. He has the young club playing a similar up-tempo, puck-possession style as what is played in Chicago, but they have suffered in their own zone. Rockford has allowed 130 goals through 35 games, more than any other team in the AHL, in part because of the struggling penalty kill, which ranks in the bottom third.