Chicago Blackhawks: Top 10 Prospects, Part 2/2

By Skylar Peters
5 of 5

Apr 9, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston University Terriers defenseman Brien Diffley (20) gets upended as University of North Dakota forward Nick Schmaltz (8) controls the puck during the first period in a semifinal game in the men

No. 1: Nick Schmaltz

At the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the Blackhawks possessed a late-first-round pick, after falling just short of the Stanley Cup Final. They swung a trade with the San Jose Sharks to move up the draft order in the first round, and that decision alone could help bring them another Stanley Cup in the future. Schmaltz, the player the Blackhawks selected with that pick, had spent the past three years with the Green Bay Gamblers, and was en route to the University of North Dakota the following fall, the same university that bred current Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Though Schmaltz may not have the potential of Toews, Patrick Kane or even Teravainen, he possesses the ability to play a role as a perfect complement to those players, even on an entry-level contract. With Brandon Saad traded out of Chicago, Schmaltz is exactly the player Chicago needs in the coming future.

Though Schmaltz is likely to return to Grand Forks this season, it is almost an expectation that he will be a Blackhawk the following year. With improvements in his size, Schmaltz can easily become the best young Blackhawk on a still-dominant NHL team.

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