Blackhawks fall 2007 CHL prospects update

By John Jaeckel

While the vast majority of Blackhawks prospects are playing on a very young AHL team at Rockford or in U.S. college ranks, the organization has five prospects playing in the CHL, all of whom can be considered legitimate NHL prospects. The team currently has no prospects playing in the USHL.

Akim Aliu, C/RW, London Knights, OHL
6’3, 220 pounds

Some saw Aliu’s trade from Sudbury to London last season as evidence of further attitude and discipline problems. And others saw it an opportunity for redemption under the hands of Knights coaches Dale Hunter and Dave Gagner. Aliu had played previously with Gagner’s son and former Knight Sam Gagner. Some felt that Hunter’s solid, stoic, no-nonsense coaching style would suit Aliu well. In 25 games, Aliu has 6 goals and 15 assists, and he is a key player on yet another strong London team. With imposing size, Aliu is a very good skater and possesses solid offensive skills. The questions that have surrounded him are primarily related to maturity and his ability to get along with teammates. A recent run-in with referees and subsequent ejection from a game against rival Kitchener, indicate Aliu still needs to rein in his competitiveness and show less selfishness on this ice. But if he can address these issues and perform well going forward, the Blackhawks will have found themselves a major steal.

Josh Unice, G, Kitchener Rangers, OHL

Josh Unice might look back someday and thank his lucky stars-or good judgment-that he chose to forego his freshman season at Bowling Green University and go to Kitchener in the OHL. Because since then, Unice’s stock has skyrocketed and his name is on the lips of numerous observers in the hockey world. Backstopping a highly successful Rangers squad, Unice currently leads the OHL in GAA and was named CHL goaltender of the week for last week in October. He is 14-2 with three shutouts, a 2.18 GAA and a .918 save percentage. The Toledo, OH native is also considered a leading candidate to be between the pipes for the United States in the 2008 World Junior Tournament.

Maxime Tanguay, C, Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL

The younger brother of Alex Tanguay, Max Tanguay is off to a rough start this year. Though his Rimouski club is loaded with talent, they have not fared well in the Telus Division of the QMJHL. And Tanguay himself has battled injury (cracked ribs). On the small side at 5’11, 185, Tanguay is highly skilled and a good skater. Thus far, in 13 games with Oceanic, he has three goals and five assists.

Richard Greenop, C/RW, Windsor Spitfires, OHL

Greenop is picking up where left off last year in the OHL as one of the league’s premier brawlers. He is on pace to surpass last year’s 149 PIM, with 83 in 23 games thus far this season. He also has two assists. At just 18 years of age, Greenop is 6’3, 225 pounds and he seems to understand and relish his role

Ben Shutron, D, Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
6’1, 190 pounds

Known as almost strictly an offensive defenseman, Shutron continues to struggle with defensive zone responsibilities, evidenced by a -16 rating, with 0 goals and 4 assists in just 13 games. Some of that might be traced to an overall weak performance by the Frontenacs. However, Shutron is also in his third year with the club and is relied on as a team leader. That said, Shutron is also working hard to play more physically, and has shown a much greater willingness to hit this season than in years past.