McNeill Set For Pro Debut
03/23/2012 2:49 PM - Mike Peck
Tonight’s Rockford IceHogs lineup will feature three former first round draft picks. Last June’s top pick for the Chicago Blackhawks, Mark McNeill, will be making his pro debut with the team after completing his junior season with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.
Joining McNeill as first rounders are Kyle Beach and Philippe Paradis.
Beach hasn’t played since Oct. 28 and if his shoulder injury would have happened a week or two later, he probably would have been shut down for the year. He’s worked hard to get back into the lineup and hopefully he can finish this season like he started. I thought Beach was very effective early on before his injury.
For Beach and McNeill, I’d keep the expectations toned down a bit. It’ll take Beach the weekend to get back into the flow of game speed (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a healthy scratch on Saturday or Sunday just to ease him back in.) And McNeill is making the jump from the junior level where he was skating against kids as young as 16 to the pro level against some guys who have been in the pros for almost 16 years.
One thing to remember about McNeill is that he can’t play in Rockford next season until after his junior season in Prince Albert comes to an end. He, of course, can make the Blackhawks roster in the fall. So after this 11 game stint with the IceHogs, don’t count on McNeill to be in Rockford until at least next spring if he doesn’t make the big club out of 2012 training camp.
Terry Broadhurst won’t play tonight, but I’d expect him in the lineup before the weekend expires. He’s a guy who’d I expect will be in Rockford come October.
Here’s a complete list of First Round Draft Selections to play for the IceHogs:
Mark McNeill, 18th overall (2011) by Blackhawks
Dylan Olsen, 28th overall (2009) by Blackhawks
Philippe Paradis, 27th overall (2009) by Carolina
Kyle Beach, 11th overall (2008) by Blackhawks
Ivan Vishnevskiy, 27th overall (2006) by Dallas
Jack Skille, 7th overall (2005) by Blackhawks
Cam Barker, 3rd overall (2004) by Blackhawks
Hugh Jessiman, 12th overall (2003) by New York Rangers
Hannu Toivonen, 29th overall (2002) by Bruins
Jeff Taffe, 30th overall (2000) by St. Louis
Nick Boynton, 21st overall (1999) by Bruins and 9th overall (1997) by Capitals
Sergei Samsonov, 8th overall (1997) by Bruins
Daniel Cloutier, 26th overall (1994) by Rangers
Jassen Cullimore, 29th overall (1991) by Vancouver
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