A Look Ahead: Blackhawks Blue Line Prospects

A Look Ahead: Blackhawks Blue Line Prospects

With the signing of free agent college defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, the Blackhawks organization is loaded with prospects on the blue line. How will they all shake out as this calendar year progresses?

Over the last month, the Hawks have also signed Dillon Fournier and acquired David Rundblad in a trade. Fournier, a second round pick in 2012, had his 2013-14 season cut short by injury; van Riemsdyk suffered a similar fate. Let's take a look at how these three impact the Hawks' organizational depth.

Stephen Johns
2nd round pick (#60) - 2010
Notre Dame (Hockey East): 39 games, 8 goals, 12 assists

Adam Clendening
2nd round pick (#36) - 2011
Rockford (AHL): 64 games, 8 goals, 42 assists

Klas Dahlbeck
3rd round pick (#79) - 2011
Rockford (AHL): 64 games, 10 goals 24 assists

David Rundblad
Acquired via trade March 4, 2014
NHL Career: 53 games, 1 goal, 8 assists

Trevor van Riemsdyk
New Hampshire (Hockey East): 26 games, 4 goals, 19 assists
From Craig Custance of ESPN:
He had 23 points in 26 games for UNH in a season shortened by an ankle injury. “He’s one of the top five defensemen in college hockey in the country,” Umile said. “He’s skilled, he can handle the puck. He can play defense. He has a great awareness of what’s going on. He can beat the forechecker. He’s really got it all.” He’s got offensive savvy, but the challenge for him will be skating. “He’s an upright skater who doesn’t move real well,” said a scout. “He’s got offensive skill. Put him on the power play, let him shoot the puck and pass the puck.”

Michael Paliotta
3rd round pick (#70) - 2011
Vermont (Hockey East): 37 games, 5 goals, 22 assists

Carl Dahlström
2nd round pick (#51) - 2013
Linköping J20 (SuperElite): 23 games, 2 goals, 12 assists
Linköping (SHL): 12 games, 0 goals, 1 assist

Dillon Fournier
2nd round pick (#48) - 2012
Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL): 36 games, 13 goals, 19 assists

Travis Brown
5th round pick (#149) - 2012
Moose Jaw (WHL): 43 games, 9 goals, 38 assists
Victoria (WHL): 28 games, 5 goals, 10 assists

Robin Norell
4th round pick (#111) - 2013
Djurgardens (Swe-1): 22 games, 0 goals, 5 assists
Sweden (WJC): 7 games, 1 goal, 0 assists

Even before GM Stan Bowman gave up a second round pick for Rundblad and signed van Riemsdyk, the Hawks were deep on the blue line. The Blackhawks have two picks in the third round - their own and Florida's from the Brandon Pirri trade - but giving up a second round pick for a player that hasn't shown much at the NHL level is increasingly questionable given the state of the blue line in the organizations.

These prospects - specifically Johns, Clendening, Dahlbeck and van Riemsdyk - could push Rundblad for a spot on the Chicago roster next year.

Johns, Paliotta and Justin Holl (Minnesota) are still alive in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, which begins on Friday.

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