Chicago Blackhawks Prospects: Projecting 2017 Defensemen
By Juliana Nikac
The Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp is now underway, and there are a decent amount of good defensive prospects to be excited about
With the possibility of a opening on the blue line for the Chicago Blackhawks, there’s an opportunity for a prospect to fill that spot. For the defensemen who are at the organization’s prospect camp, it’s an even better opportunity to show the Blackhawks what they’ve got.
These guys have to impress if they want any chance to make the Blackhawks’ roster for Opening Night. Let’s take a look at some of the best defensive prospects attending camp, who has the highest ceiling, and who can most likely make the team.
Compared to other years, there were way more Canadian junior A players taken in this year’s draft. Ian Mitchell, who played for the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL, was one of the better available prospects. Drafted 57th overall, Mitchell is a strong skater and great distributor of the puck. He created lots of offensive opportunities for the Saints this past season, collecting 37 points. That’s good for 3rd on his team in scoring. The St. Albert, Alberta native is also extremely mobile. Standing at 5’10”, this allows him to always find the right path to the net. He can also to race back into his position when he gets caught down low in the offensive zone. He’s a right-handed shot, which is always a plus.
If there’s any downside to Mitchell, it’s his size. He’s a shorter defenseman and only weighed in at 165 pounds at the combine. Because of his size, he tends to shy away from physical encounters when he’s defending. However, he’s also only 18 years old. Mitchell committed to the University of Denver, where he will play this upcoming season. Playing in the NCAA will allow him to develop his raw skill set into more solid tools. It might take him a while to develop, but the Blackhawks are patient with their prospects. Ian Mitchell can be a solid defenseman for the team in the long run, and maybe even in the near future.