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.
If it weren’t for the selections made in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks would have only one prospect skating at the junior level. In fact, four of their seven selections from this past summer’s draft are currently playing in either the WHL, OHL, or USHL. The Blackhawks typically shy away from drafting players from the CHL, but the 2015 draft saw the organization take a different approach when selecting talent for the future.
The months leading up to the 2015-16 season saw the Chicago Blackhawks shuffle several players. In terms of prospects, the Blackhawks sent out Stephen Johns, Michael Paliotta, Alex Broadhurst, and Joakim Nordstrom in a variety of trades. Futhermore, Matt Carey, Drew LeBlanc, and Mac Carruth were not extended qualifying offers with the team, though Carruth signed an AHL deal with the Blackhawks’ minor league affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. Defenseman Sam Jardine signed a contract with the IceHogs as well, hoping he can use this opportunity to earn an NHL-contract with Chicago in the foreseeable future.
As General Manager Stan Bowman, Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Kelley and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks brass headed to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Florida, it was no secret that Blackhawks upper management were about to have not only a busy draft, but a busy summer as well. Read more»