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2015 NHL DRAFT: A LOOK AT THE BLACKHAWKS FIRST ROUND PICKS

Photos courtesy of Todd Reicher
06/24/2015 9:00 AM

Article By: Connor Rylatt

Rockford, Ill. - Another talented group of young hockey players will look to begin their professional hockey journey on Friday and Saturday in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Each player’s dream is to reach their goal of playing in the National Hockey League, however many prospects will end up in the American Hockey League to hone and sharpen their skills before reaching the NHL.

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

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

2014: Forward Nick Schmaltz was the choice when the Blackhawks were on the clock with the 20th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft. Schmaltz was a projected first round pick and was there for the taking with Chicago’s first round selection. The 19 year-old out of Verona, Wisconsin spent three seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League before attending the University of North Dakota in 2014-15. In his third season with the Gamblers, Schmaltz recorded a team high in assists (45) and points (63) in 2013-14. In his first year with the University of North Dakota, Schmaltz played in a total of 38 games registering 26 points (5g-21a). 

2013: Right-winger Ryan Hartman was Chicago’s 30th overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft. As a rookie in 2014-15, Hartman led all other IceHogs first year players in assists (24) as well as points (37). The West Dundee, Ill. native made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in Feb. 2015, appearing in five games. Before Hartman joined the Hogs, he played with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. In his career with the Whalers, Hartman compiled 113 points (60g-65a) in 108 games played.

2012: In 2012’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 pick and the Blackhawks were able to nab him later in the first round. He first appeared in Rockford tallying 27 pts (8g-19a) in 44 games played. Late in the 2014-15 season, he got an extended shot in the NHL with the Blackhawks, playing in 34 games and recording a total of nine pts (4g-5a). Teravainen stepped up as a key contributor for the Blackhawks, recording 10 pts (4g-6a) in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs as well as four points (2g-2a) in the Final as the Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup Championship. From 2011-12 to 2013-14, Teravainen skated with the Jokerit Helsinki of the Finnish Elite League accumulating 93 points (33g-60a) in 133 games.

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. In the 2014-15 season with the IceHogs, McNeill led the team in goals with 23 in 63 games played. McNeill began his first full pro season in Rockford in 2013-14 playing in all 76 games while tallying 18 goals and 19 assists. In total, McNeill has registered 81 pts (41g-40a) in 151 games with the IceHogs. He first appeared with Rockford in 2011-12 in seven games, and in 2012-13 in five games. Danault, the second of the two first round draft picks, played in 70 games leading to 38 points (13g-25a) in the 2014-15 season also making his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in November. Danault skated for the IceHogs in 2011-12 and 2012-13 after playing with the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) and the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL). In 2013-14, Danault appeared in 72 games with Rockford recording 26 points (6g-20a) during his first full pro season. Overall, Danault has accounted for 66 pts (19g-47a) in 154 games with the IceHogs.

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. As a result of Hayes not signing with the Blackhawks, he became an unrestricted free agent. He eventually signed with the New York Rangers on an entry-level contract on Aug 20, 2014. Hayes tallied 45 pts (17g-28a) in 79 games with the Rangers during the 2014-15 season. The younger of the two brothers, Hayes spent four seasons skating for Boston College compiling a total of 132 points (44g-88a) in 142 games played. 

2009: With the 28th pick in the 2009 draft, the Blackhawks selected physical defenseman Dylan Olsen. Overall, the defenseman recorded six goals and 24 assists in 152 career games in Rockford, along with one assist in 28 tilts with the Blackhawks. Olsen played parts of two seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth before turning pro and joining the IceHogs during the 2010-11 campaign. A trade in November 2013 landed Olsen with the Florida Panthers organization. During his time with the Panthers, Olsen skated in 88 games chalking up 20 points (5g-15a). Olsen also skated with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, recording a total of five points (2g-3a) in 16 games played.

2008: Center Kyle Beach was Chicago’s 11th overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft. In 169 games with Rockford, he recording 76 points (41g-35a). In the 2014-15 season with Salzburg EC of the Austrian league, he notched 25 points (12g-13a) in 53 games played. Beach entered his fourth full pro season in 2013-14 with HV71 (SWeHL), totaling three points (2g-1a) in seven games. He then returned to Rockford and played in seven games and scored four goals before the Blackhawks traded him to the New York Rangers organization. Beach completed 2013-14 with the Hartford Wolfpack (AHL) chalking up seven points (2g-5a) in 39 games.

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, he has appeared in 576 games for the Blackhawks, registering 205 goals and 352 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 versus the Philadelphia Flyers. In 2013, Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Blackhawks won their second cup in three years. Kane scored the goal to put the Blackhawks up 2-0 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final versus the Tampa Bay Lightning to give the Hawks their third cup in six years.

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 named the 2013 Frank J. Selke trophy winner as the NHL’s best defensive forward and a finalist in 2015. He also won the Conn Smythe trophy in 2010 as the MVP of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toews shows 506 points (223g-283a) in 565 career games for Chicago since being drafted. The captain is now a recipient of two world junior gold’s, world championship gold and silver, and a three time Stanley Cup champion at the age of 27.

2005: Right Wing Jack Skille was Chicago’s 7th overall selection in 2005. 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 where he continued to skate until 2012-13. The winger recorded 128 points (59g-69a) in 180 games with the IceHogs and has seen 239 career games in the NHL between Chicago, Florida and Columbus, totaling 30g-31a-61pts. Skille spent two years at the University of Wisconsin, including winning a National Championship as a freshman in 2006 before turning pro.

2004: For the third-straight draft the Blackhawks selected a defenseman when they took Cam Barker with the third overall pick. 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. In 2014-15, Barker appeared with the Bratislava Slovan (KHL) playing 18 games and recording nine points (0g-9a). Overall, the 28 year-old defenseman appeared in 310 career NHL games with Chicago, Minnesota, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Season Tickets for 2015-16 Now on Sale: Reserve your seats today for the IceHogs 16th season of professional hockey and eighth as the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Call (815) 847-6399 or visit icehogs.com to find a ticket package that fits your needs.