19. Anton Wedin
Anton Wedin was a highly sought after undrafted Swedish free agent this past season.
Wedin, 26, is coming off a career year with Timra IK of the SHL, where he tallied 27 points (14G, 13A) with a -7 ± rating in 32 games.
In the postseason, he added 9 points (2G, 7A) with a 3 ± rating in 7 games. In the video below, Wedin (#57) showcases his career strong wrist shot.
Wedin has a shot at making the NHL roster, but he will have to earn it. He has a great chance, as long as he can acclimate to the speed of North American hockey and the smaller rink size.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ bottom-6 battle will be something to monitor throughout training camp and preseason games.
Another recently acquired player, Alexander Nylander, comes with some serious question marks.
Nylander was drafted 8th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2016, but has yet to pan out. Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks’ organization are hoping a change of scenery can awaken Nylander’s dormant potential.
Nylander is a playmaker with high offensive IQ, soft hands, and a decent shot. Consistency is his kryptonite; he just can’t seem to put it together.
In 165 AHL games, Nylander has 86 points (30G, 56A) with a -10 ± rating, and in 19 NHL games, he has 6 points (3G, 3A) with a -9 ± rating.
The Blackhawks are giving Nylander what could be his last real shot at becoming an NHL player. We’ll have to wait and see if he seizes the moment.
If the Blackhawks acquired the #92 in this highlight reel, then they are going to be in great shape for the 2019-20 NHL season and beyond.
17. Nicolas Beaudin
Nicolas Beaudin is a big piece of the Chicago Blackhawks’ future defensemen corps. Beaudin was selected with the 27th overall pick (acquired from NSH in the Hartman trade) in the 2017 NHL Draft.
He is an efficient offensive defenseman who has a great shot at becoming a mainstay in the Blackhawks’ top-4.
Beaudin turned pro this season and will likely begin the 2019-20 season with the Rockford IceHogs. This works out quite nicely, as Beaudin will get top minutes in Rockford while he continues to develop.
He won’t light the lamp as often as others — 24 goals in 211 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL — but Beaudin is a great facilitator and can also hold his own defensively.
16. Dominik Kubalik
Dominik Kubalik looks like a potential hidden gem for the Chicago Blackhawks. Kubalik is coming off a red-hot career year in 2018-19. He shined for the Czech Republic in the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
He finished 8th in tournament scoring with 12 points (6G, 6A) and a 10 ± rating in 10 games.
On top of that, Kubalik led the NLA (top Swiss League) in scoring with 57 points (25G, 32A) with 5 ± in 50 games. He would be named MVP of the NLA as well.
I expect Dominik Kubalik to make the 2019-20 NHL roster and he could be the biggest surprise of the season. I’m excited to see him bring his well-rounded game to the Blackhawks. Say hello to your newest Chicago Blackhawks’ player:
15. Olli Maatta
The Blackhawks’ defense was revamped this offseason and Olli Maatta is a big part of it. Maatta is a former 1st round pick who has had his fair share of ups and downs in Pittsburgh.
As a defensive-minded defenseman, he will be a breath of fresh air to one of the worst defenses in the league.
Maatta’s role in the defensive pairings has yet to be determined, but he will be a solid addition to the 2nd or 3rd pairing. He has had a negative plus-minus rating just once in 6 seasons and it was a -1 ±.
Maatta has had some durability and consistency issues in the past, so the Blackhawks may opt to start him on the 3rd pairing.
His shot-blocking and crease clearing abilities will be nice to see. The following highlight reel will give you a little taste of what I’m talking about.