Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Nick Schmaltz puts on a team sweater after being selected as the number twenty overall pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
He’s been dubbed the future star of the Blackhawks. He will be the second line center of the future. He’s 170 pounds soaking wet. He has his own time. Yes, I was just describing Teuvo Teravainen to you. So when will “Teuvo Time” begin for the young star and the Blackhawks? The world may never know, but I’m writing today to tell you Hawks fans that there are other prospects not named Teravainen. He may be the queen of the senior prom, but he’s not the only dime there. Here are a few forwards and defensemen to be keeping an eye on over the next few years to give you a break from “Teuvo Time.”
C Nick Schmaltz: This years first round pick will be attending the University of North Dakota, which is somewhere the Hawks have had some luck, Jonathan Toews *cough* *cough*. Although Schmaltz is no physical specimen at 5’11 170 pounds, he has the skill to make up for it. His great hands and play making ability make him a threat anywhere on the ice. Schmaltz is a guy to look out for in the future. He’s still at least two years away from the NHL, but he has the skill to be the second line center of the future.
C John Hayden: Selected in the third round in the 2013 draft, Hayden attended Yale last fall and will return for his sophomore season. Hayden is a big, aggressive center who has a chance to be a power forward at the NHL level. At 6’2 185 pounds Hayden is a force around the net and along the boards. Hayden had an impressive Blackhawks prospect camp where he turned a lot of heads. If he continues to develop at the rate he’s going, He would easily fill a third line center role for the Hawks.
RW/C Ryan Hartman: The Blackhawks 2013 first round pick has continued to make strides in his game. He’s expected to start the season in Rockford where he finished up last season after his OHL season ended. Hartman won’t turn any heads with his size, 5’11 190 pounds, but he will turn heads with his ability to be a gritty player. Hartman brings a physical presence to the game and is not afraid to throw around his 190 pound frame. Hartman needs to continue to develop the offensive side of his game in Rockford before he gets a crack at the Hawks line-up.
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D Stephen Johns: Johns is a former second rounder who spent four seasons at Notre Dame before signing with the Blackhawks. Johns is a solid defensive defenseman and brings a physical presence to the game. Johns comes in at 6’4 234 pounds and is not afraid of a little bit of contact. He is often compared to current Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. If Johns turns out anything like Seabs, then we are quite lucky. Johns will likely spend the year in Rockford, barring injury, and continue to develop his game.
D Carl Dahlstrom: Dahlstrom is another former second round pick who is playing overseas in Sweden. Dahlstrom is your typical stay at home defenseman. He’s smart in his own zone with or without the puck and is an excellent shot blocker. Dahlstrom doesn’t have much of an offensive upside, but his ability to play defense is valuable enough. Dahlstrom, along with fellow Hawks draft pick Robin Norell were both impressive at team Sweden’s World Junior Hockey Camp.
D Trevor van Riemsdyk: An underrated free agent signing by Stan Bowman. A great college defenseman, but broke his leg his junior season and many teams lost interest. van Riemsdyk had twenty-three points his injury shortened junior season. He has an offensive upside, but needs to develop his all around game in Rockford, where he will be this season. And yes, he is the younger brother of U.S Olympian and current Maple Leaf, James van Riemsdyk.
G Kent Simpson: This is a position the Hawks aren’t too deep in when it comes to prospects. Simpson is a bigger goalie, at 6’2 183, so he takes up a big part of the net and is not easy to beat straight up. Simpson should be the starter in Rockford where he played a little bit last season, but spent most of the season in the ECHL and had one appearance in the NHL. Simpson is likely still a few years away from the NHL, but when it comes to goaltending prospects for the Hawks, he’s at the top of the list.
Thanks for reading and you can follow Blackhawk Up on twitter, @Blackhawk_Up, or me personally @BKaznicka13.