Last week the Blackhawks’ website posted that defenseman Dylan Olsen is aiming to swipe a roster spot this year on the Hawks. But is he ready to play at the top level?
He is a 2009 draft pick, won a Silver Medal at the World Junior Championships and spent half the season in Rockford. He played college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth and went to the IceHogs after his a year and a half with the Bulldogs.
Son of Darryl Olsen, who was drafted and played one game for the Calgary Flames. His dad showed him what it takes to play in the NHL and how easy it is to get stuck in the maze of hockey leagues below.
Olsen is a big kid at 6-foot 2-inches and 206 pounds. He played in the AJHL with the Camrose Kodiaks, where he led his team’s defensive unit with 10 goals and was fourth on the team with 29 points in 53 games. The big defenseman that can skate pretty well too. He likes to play up with the forwards when he gets a chance, but he has a lot to learn about offense the pros.
His stats may be impressive, but Olsen took an interesting route to Rockford. Olsen was academically ineligible to play his second semester of his second year at Duluth. In order to keep the prospect on the ice, the Hawks signed him to Rockford to an already full defensive unit.
So like quite a few of the Hawks’ prospects, Olsen was rushed to the professional level. Maybe he’s so confident he can land a spot on the Hawk’s bench because he practically stumbled into a roster spot with Rockford.
But the kid’s size and stats are something that keeps the eye on him. He may not be the second coming of Paul Coffey, but he may bring a different defensive look to the Hawks, especially on the power play.
So is Olsen ready to play in the NHL today? No, probably not. The kid has a lot of work to do before that. His offensive mind needs some fine-tuning and we still have to see if his struggles in school translate over to his hockey intelligence. But that doesn’t mean he may not find himself playing for the big club at some point over the course of the season. Injuries and trades always give way to young players to get a chance. Maybe he will surprise us this season.