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06/26/2013 8:00 AM

Article By: Mike Peck

Rockford, Ill. – Another talented group of young hockey players will look to begin their professional hockey journey on Sunday in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

After each player hears their name called, they will look to climb through the professional hockey ranks to reach their ultimate goal of playing in the National Hockey League. Before that however, a majority of these young prospects will eventually end up in the American Hockey League to hone their skills and earn valuable professional experience to prepare for the next level.

Since the Rockford IceHogs moved into the AHL (2007-08) as the primary affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, six of the Blackhawks first round selections (Cam Barker, Kyle Beach, Phillip Danault, Mark McNeill, Dylan Olsen, Jack Skille) have found themselves in Rockford to continue their development.

Today, will take a look back at the Blackhawks first round picks over the past 10 years.

2012: In last year’s draft, the Blackhawks picked up Teuvo Teravainen with the 18th overall selection. Several mock drafts prior to the 2012 Draft had Teravainen projected as a top 10 pick and the Blackhawks were able to nab him later in the first round. This past season, the 18 year-old forward racked up career highs in goals (13), assists (18) and points (31) in his second season with Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish Elite League.

2011: With two picks in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft the Blackhawks selected Mark McNeill with the 18th pick and Phillip Danault in the 26th spot. For the second straight season, both forwards joined the IceHogs following their seasons with their major junior team, each skating in five games apiece for the IceHogs in 2012-13. McNeill finished his fifth campaign with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), accumulating 25 goals and 42 assists in 65 games. After a mid-season trade, Danault finished the 2012-13 campaign with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL, registering 41 points (9g-32a). Prior to the trade the winger tallied 44 points (14g-30a) in 29 contests with his hometown Victoriaville Tigres.

2010: The day before acquiring his brother (Jimmy Hayes) in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Blackhawks grabbed right wing Kevin Hayes with the 24th overall pick. The younger of the two brothers, Kevin Hayes has spent the last three seasons skating for Boston College. The Dorchester, Mass. native tallied 25 points (6g-19a) in 27 games before his 2012-13 campaign was cut short due to injury.

2009: With the 28th pick in the 2009 draft, the Blackhawks selected physical defenseman Dylan Olsen. Olsen played parts of two seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth before turning pro and joining the IceHogs during the 2010-11 campaign. Overall, the d-man has recorded six goals and 16 assists in 136 career games in Rockford, along with one assist in 28 tilts with the Blackhawks.

2008: Center Kyle Beach was Chicago’s 11th overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft. Prior to turning pro, Beach completed his fourth (2008-09) and fifth (2009-10) seasons in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Spokane Chiefs. The 2010-11 season marked the Kelowna, British Columbia native’s first full professional campaign and since then Beach has appeared in 136 games, tallying 37 goals, 35 assists and 397 penalty minutes, all with Rockford.

2007: With their first ever first overall pick, the Blackhawks selected Patrick Kane. Kane immediately made an impact for the Blackhawks, winning the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie during the 2007-08 season. In total, Kane has appeared in 446 games for the Blackhawks , registering 149 goals and 275 assists. No goal was bigger for the Buffalo, New York native than the overtime game-winner that he scored to give Chicago the 2010 Stanley Cup.

2006: With another high first round draft pick the Blackhawks chose center Jonathan Toews with the 3rd pick. The current team captain for the Blackhawks was recently named the 2013 Frank J. Selke trophy winner as the NHL’s best defensive forward and won the Conn Smythe trophy in 2010 as the MVP of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toews shows 373 points (167g-205a) in 408 career games for Chicago since being drafted.

2005: Right Wing Jack Skille was Chicago’s 7th overall selection in 2005. Skille spent two years at the University of Wisconsin, including winning a National Championship as a freshman in 2006, before turning pro. The Madison, Wis. native spent three seasons with the IceHogs prior to earning a full season with the Blackhawks in 2010-11, but was then traded after 49 games to the Florida Panthers. Overall, the winger has recorded 128 points (59g-69a) in 180 games with the IceHogs and has seen 178 career games in the NHL between Chicago and Florida.

2004: For the third-straight draft the Blackhawks selected a defenseman when they took Cam Barker at the 3rd spot overall. Barker is the highest Blackhawks draft choice to play in Rockford as he played in 36 games for the IceHogs over parts of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Overall, the 27 year-old defensemen has appeared in 310 career NHL games with Chicago, Minnesota, Edmonton and Vancouver.

2003: On June 21, 2003 the Blackhawks made defenseman Brent Seabrook the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. Seabrook played just three games with the Norfolk Admirals, then the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, before graduating to the NHL with Chicago. The blueliner has scored 56 goals and dished out 190 assists in 599 career NHL games, all with the Blackhawks.

2002: Defenseman Anton Babchuk was the Blackhawks 21st overall selection in the 2002 NHL Draft. Over the course of his 10 year professional career Babchuk has played in 289 NHL tilts with Calgary, Carolina and Chicago. In 2012-13, the d-man played in seven contests with the Flames, along with 31 games in the KHL with Donbass HC.

Check out all week as we preview the 2013 NHL Entry Draft
Monday, June 24th:    Draft Breakdown at Blackhawks pick
Tuesday, June 25th:    Mock Drafts
Wednesday, June 26th:    Breakdown of the Blackhawks first overall picks over the past 10 years
Thursday, June 27th:   Draft Impact on the IceHogs
Friday, June 28th:    An update on the progress of all of Chicago’s draft picks from the 2011 and 2012 drafts

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