May 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane warms up across the center ice logo before game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks’ NCAA prospects pipeline is full of potential
While a lot of attention is paid to the Chicago Blackhawks prospect system when it comes to foreign players or players in the Canadian Junior system, Chicago has plenty of quality young players that are playing their hockey in the NCAA ranks.
The organization is giving a lot of their younger talents opportunities to make impact at the NHL level this season. Head coach Joel Quenneville seems to be giving those players a longer leash, and if it works well this year, then why not try it over the next few years?
Chicago has already signed a number of prospects playing in Canada this season, so where does that put their NCAA prospects who are unsigned?
Here is a rundown of such prospects who are in the Blackhawks system, playing in the NCAA.
Blackhawks Prospects: Hockey-East
– SR – RW, Boston College
2012 third-round pick (79th overall)
Calnan is the nephew of former Blackhawks great
. The Massachusetts native has been battling injuries the past season and looks to bounce back in his senior year. Through 103 career games, he has 18 goals and 22 assists. Sometimes overshadowed by the bigger-name prospects at Boston College, Calnan, when healthy, is an effective two-way center who can take key faceoffs in the defensive zone and be heavy on pucks.
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- 2014 fifth-round pick (130th overall) by Edmonton Oilers, acquired for Anders Nilsson
- Coughlin was acquired by the Blackhawks in the summer of 2015. Coughlin notched three goals and nine assists in 35 games as a freshman at the University of Vermont and has tallied three points through the first seven games this season. He is a long ways from being NHL-ready, but given the right time to develop, his size and scoring touch could translate to the professional level in a big way.
- 2015 third-round pick (91st overall)
- Gilbert has ties to the Chicago area, having played in 2014-15 with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, and looks to be a sizable defender in Chicago’s pipeline. He skates extremely well for a defenseman of his size, listed at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds. He plays a controlled game and has jumped right into the heart of the Notre Dame lineup in a big way after an impressive freshman year.
- 2016 second-round pick (45th overall)
- Krys is not the most imposing defender, but his ability to move the puck and see the ice well makes him an intriguing talent for the Blackhawks. He has the ability to play in all special-teams situations and uses his skating and stickwork effectively in his own zone. Krys has a goal and an assist through the first seven games of Boston University’s season.
- 2015 sixth-round pick (156th overall) by Carolina Hurricanes, acquired for Kris Versteeg
- Massie was acquired by the Blackhawks through a trade in 2015 and in the spring of 2016 switched commitments from University of Massachusetts-Amherst to Vermont University. In his first four games, he has one assist for the Catamounts. Massie is a solid defender in his own zone, but needs to improve his skills in the offensive zone before being ready to make an impact at the professional level.
- 2015 fourth-round pick (121st overall)
- Through his first nine games of his NCAA career, Shea has tallied four points with a goal and three assists. Shea’s skating and puck-moving skills are solid, but his ability to play consistently in his defensive zone has been a concern heading into his freshman year.
– JR – C, Northeastern University
2014 sixth-round pick (178th overall)
Sikura is a “late-blooming” prospect who has made waves so far in his junior season. Through nine games, he has 12 points. Sikura’s size may be a concern moving forward as he is listed at 5-11 and 160 pounds, but adding strength and filling out his frame could boost his stock. Sikura returned to Northeastern for his junior season and will likely speak with the Blackhawks about a contract next spring.