5. Alex DeBrincat, C/RW (15-16 Stats: OHL – 60 GP, 101 Pts, +16)
After posting a 100-plus-point season in 2014-15 with the Erie Otters, playing alongside Connor McDavid, DeBrincat would do exactly the same in 2015-16 without McDavid. That right there can tell a lot about the skill DeBrincat has to offer.
Yes, at 5-foot-7 he is undersized, but the NHL is starting to trend toward a more speed-focused game over a size-focused one, and DeBrincat has plenty of speed. He is always looking to create chances on the ice and has a knack for getting into space around the net. Another season in the OHL might be in his future before making his professional debut, but it won’t be long before he makes an impact with the Blackhawks.
4 – Ryan Hartman, RW (15-16 Stats: AHL – 61 GP, 35 Pts, +16/NHL – 3 GP, 1 Pts, -1)
Hartman is more than likely going to play all of next season with the Blackhawks. Already tabbed as the most likely replacement for the departing Andrew Shaw, Hartman plays the grinding, physical type of game that Shaw played, but can also create chances in space and has a more-polished offensive side to him.
Depending on his performance in training camp in the fall, Hartman could see the majority of his minutes with the Blackhawks in a third-line role and may even see time on the penalty kill as well.
3. Nick Schmaltz, C/RW (15-16 Stats: NCAA – 37 GP, 46 Pts, +44)
After dispatching of Motte and the Michigan Wolverines, Schmaltz and the University of North Dakota went on to win the NCAA national championship this last spring. Schmaltz was one of the top players for North Dakota over the last two years, and after signing his entry-level deal with the Blackhawks earlier this summer, Schmaltz looks to be one of the next top players for Chicago.
Schmaltz has great skating abilities and his shot was one of the best in prospect camp.
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If paired with the right players, Schmaltz could be the next Blackhawks player to contend for the Calder Trophy for NHL Rookie of the Year.
2. Vinnie Hinostroza, C/RW (15-16 Stats: AHL – 66 GP, 51 Pts, +7/NHL – 7 GP, 0 Pts, -1)
While not the smallest prospect, Hinostroza’s size helped him stand out from the group at camp. The other standout characteristic for Hinostroza at camp: flat-out skill.
Hinostroza, from Day 1, was one of the fastest, smoothest skaters on the ice and was playing at a level not many others could reach. If he can have another showing in the fall as he did in Prospect Camp, Hinostroza would be hard-pressed to see more time in Rockford than in Chicago next season.
1. Michal Kempny, D (15-16 Stats: KHL – 59 GP, 21 Pts, +18)
Far and away the best defenseman at Prospect Camp, Kempny is the real deal. His skating ability and offensive skills really stood out during the practice portions of camp. But it was his positioning and defensive abilities that stood out during scrimmages, and that is what really makes him stand out for the Blackhawks heading into next season.
Chicago has enough players who can create offense from the blue line with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and now Brian Campbell. But the only real “shutdown” defender on the roster at the moment is Niklas Hjalmarsson. Kempny has the ability to add to the game offensively, while being able to be defensively sound and not give up opportunities going to wrong way. Look for him to be a full-time Blackhawk next season and make a big difference on the back end.
So what do you think? Who are the top prospects the Blackhawks can look to continue building from within? Let us know in the comment section below!