Blackhawks’ Future Friday: Mark McNeill

By Skylar Peters
  • Mark McNeill

2012-13 WHL Stats

Games: 65

Goals: 25

Assists: 42

Points: 67

PIM: 43

Drafted: First round, 18th overall, 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Prospect Report:

Mark McNeill is making a case as one of the best offensive prospects in the system of any team, not just the Chicago Blackhawks. At 6’2″, 210 pounds, he surprises many with his smooth hands, a style of play similar to Pittsburgh star Evgeni Malkin. He has also showed that he is not only effective in the offensive zone, spending time on the Prince Albert Raiders’ penalty kill as well as the power-play.

He can be an effective power forward, using his size as well as good speed to get in on the forecheck and create opportunity for a turnover. To excel at the NHL level, he will need to be more consistent with his play, as he can look completely different on some nights.

Road To The NHL:

Mark McNeill was born February 22nd, 1993, in Edmonton Alberta. At the age of 14, he was drafted fifth overall to the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL Bantam draft. McNeill appeared in his WHL rookie season in 2009-10, playing in 68 games, and taking away 24 points. He also took part in the 2010 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, scoring 3 points in five games as part of Team Pacific.

One year later, after signing an entry-level contract, McNeill made his pro debut with the Rockford IceHogs, registering 0 points and 12 PIMs in 7 games. He finished his WHL career in 2013, averaging over a point-per-game with the Raiders.

Promotion Probability: 1/10

McNeill has the potential to become an offensive gem at the NHL level, but he will not be able to jump in to the big show just yet. His playmaking abilities may earn him a long stay at training camp this fall, but with NHL-ready players Jeremy Morin on wing and Brandon Pirri on center, McNeill won’t be cracking the lineup in 2014.

His game is searching for maturity and consistency, both things he can work on with Rockford at the AHL level. He is a natural center, but he may find success on the wing with his ability to foresee the play and make good passes. With some of the older Blackhawks’ players expected to limit their games, McNeill may very well make his NHL debut in 2013-14 in a one or two-game stint.

When the time is right, McNeill will be a contributor on the Blackhawks, but until then, he will continue to work hard at developing his game so he is ready for that day.

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