Ville Pokka

Blackhawks In The System: Defensemen

As we look forward to the 2016-17 season, the Blackhawks have a lot of work to do this summer – both at the NHL and AHL levels. There are some new faces coming into the mix and some others leaving, either as free agents or via inevitable trades.

On Sunday, we looked at the players needing a new contract this summer.

Everyone inside and outside the Blackhawks organization pointed to the blue line as the top priority to upgrade this summer. There will undoubtedly be players outside the organization – NHL and AHL free agents, European and college free agents and trade candidates.

But before we look outside the organization, let’s look at the players who are available to replace some of the departures from inside the organization.

Erik Gustafsson

Erik Gustafsson
DOB: 03/14/1992 (24 years old)
6-1  206
2016-17 Cap Hit: $667,500
NHL Games Played: 41
Acquired: signed as free agent
2015-16 Stats:
Chicago (NHL)
41 games, 0 goals, 14 assists, 14 points
Rockford (AHL)
27 games, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points

Viktor Svedberg

Viktor Svedberg
DOB: 05/24/1991 (25 years old)
6-8  238
2016-17 Cap Hit: $750,000
NHL Games Played: 27
Acquired:
signed as free agent
2015-16 Stats:
Chicago (NHL)
27 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points
Rockford (AHL)
40 games, 1 goal, 14 assists, 15 points

Ville Pokka

Ville Pokka
DOB: 06/03/1994 (22 years old)
6-0  200
2016-17 Cap Hit: $925,000
NHL Games Played: 0
Acquired: via trade from NYI (Oct. 4, 2014 – Nick Leddy)
2015-16:
Rockford (AHL)
76 games, 10 goals, 35 assists, 45 points

Carl Dahlstrom

Carl Dahlstrom
DOB: 01/28/1995 (21 years old)
6-4  223
2016-17 Cap Hit: $750,833
NHL Games Played: 0
Acquired
: 2013 NHL Draft – 2nd round (#51)
2015-16 Stats:
Linkopings HC (SweHL)
50 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points
Rockford (AHL)
4 games, 0 points

Robin Norell

Robin Norell
DOB: 02/18/1995 (21 years old)
5-11  189
2016-17 Cap Hit: $717,500
NHL Games Played: 0
Acquired: 2013 NHL Draft – 4th round (#111)
2015-16 Stats:
Djurgardens IF (SweHL)
51 games, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points
Rockford (AHL)
8 games, 2 assists

Dillon Fournier

Dillon Fournier
DOB: 06/15/1994 (22 years old)
6-2  187
2016-17 Cap Hit: $709,166
NHL Games Played: 0
Acquired
: 2012 NHL Draft – 2nd round (#48)
2015-16 Stats:
Indy Fuel (ECHL)
7 games, 1 assist
Rockford (AHL)
2 games, 0 points

Nolan Valleau

Nolan Valleau
DOB: 11/15/1992 (24 years old)
6-1  177
2016-17 Cap Hit: $667,500
NHL Games Played: 0
Acquired: Signed as college free agent
2015-16 Stats:
Rockford (AHL)
62 games, 1 goal, 11 assists, 12 points

Cam Schilling

Cameron Schilling
DOB: 10/07/1988 (28 years old)
6-2  196
2016-17 Cap Hit: $575,000
NHL Games Played: 6
Acquired
: signed as free agent
2015-16 Stats:
Rockford (AHL)
73 games, 5 goals, 17 assists, 22 points

30 thoughts on “Blackhawks In The System: Defensemen

  1. What about Gustav Forsling? Or do you think he’s certain to stay in the minors for a while longer?

  2. Forsling is not yet signed, that’s why he isnt on the list. He has grown a bit since he was drafted and is now 6′ 182lbs. I don’t know the exact deadline for him to sign before he re-enters the draft.

    Fournier is an interesting one. He’s got decent size. His Q numbers say he’s got offense. But even before he was drafted has been injured. And his +/- in the ECHL is no bueno.

  3. Fournier- is best skater of the bunch… but always injured!!!

    Pokka- I don’t know if he has the wheels… + shot from the blue line

    let’s hope for Kempny (and Hope he is solid!)

  4. Ernie – thanks for the reminder that this list only includes players signed thru the 2016-17 season as of May 1. There are unsigned draft picks like Forsling and the previously discussed restricted + unrestricted free agents from the organization that are also candidates. This is simply a list of internal options under contract.

  5. I look forward to Sveddy’s development. Another couple years of seasoning and he will be ready for a telemarketing desk job. For whatever reason there is, he would not be seeing any NHL ice time if it wasn’t for Q.

    During the season, I have read here that Pokka is our prize D prospect. Then again, I also read he is not a very good skater. Move this guy and get someone that can skate or make room for the younger guys above to get more meaningful ice time to develop.

    Why is Schilling taking up a younger players spot?

  6. Sadly, this is not an inspiring list of defenseman prospects. It’s just not. I’m not a fan of Pokka, and Gustafsson is little more than a 6/7 type defenseman. The rest? Well, lets watch their progression but honestly not a lot here to be hopeful.

  7. Just realized Pokka and I have the same birthday. Just 5 years apart. He’s 21 for another month. Don’t cheat me out of it. This getting old thing kinda sucks.

  8. Dude, I am in the 30s you aint getting old. I could use a little hot tub time machine about now.

  9. It’s everything involved in getting old. Mortgage, property taxes…responsibility in general.

  10. Just had a thought on TVR. His agent screwed him. He signed a 2 year .925 deal out of college. Then when eligible last summer signed a 2 year extension for .825.

    Now that isnt noteworthy since he was injured. But, he could have played out the duration of his deal and the Hawks would have been forced to give him a qualifying offer of 105% of his .925. Left 150k on the table for this year. And nearly 200k the following. Thats if he accepted both qualifying offers.

  11. Ernie, what purpose is Schilling serving? Are you defending him? You ask a good question. I am not a scout so I do not have a specific player’s name. However, there have to be college or foreign unsigned free agent players that have more upside than Schilling. Are you just sensitive because I am saying the guy is worthless to this organization at age 28 and you are nearing that age? Happy birthday whenever it is.

  12. Mox- it is rumored that Hawks are his top choice…

    More importantly- Caggiula – has a list of 5-6 teams… and Hawks are one of them…
    Caggiula- is from Canada, and Boeser (who is gonna be a STUD/college linemate w/ Schmaltz) is Vancouver Property , and Stecher signed with Canucks… So looks like Canucks have the leg up for him….

    In Hawks Favor:
    Caggiula- chose N. Dakota because He watched Teows play for them … and fell in love with Both N. Dakota and Toews!!!

    I have watched Caggiula several times… to my eyes… he is somewhere between Tyler Johnson/Andrew Shaw type… gritty/fast/IQ/Competes/with finish!!!

  13. The thing that I like about this management team is that they are trying to let the young talent “develop”. In the old days, if a young player came up from the minors and did not immediately produce, he was sent packing.

    Players like TVR and Gustafsson have talent and you can see flashes of it. But they are just kids with barely a year of NHL experience. They need time. They need to develop. They need the Hawk management team to have patience. Svedberg is another young player who needs time and patience to see if he can handle the NHL work load. I read where people criticize him for being “slow of foot”. He’s 6′ 8″ tall and he is NEVER going to be “fleet of foot”. But if he learns to play the defensive position and make the right plays he may be a good 5th or 6th D man.

    Patience. Patience. Patience.

    Great article TAB. These are the FACTS and STATS about the future D men in the chain.

  14. Booman, When Schilling was signed a lot of people here figured he was the 7/8 dman. He has some NHL experience which is never a bad thing. He signed a 2 year deal. The second year being one way. Im indifferent when it comes to my fandom of him, My point was he’s not keeping anyone off the roster. The kids in Sweden all have contracts in Sweden. Why rush things and burn a year off there ELC just to bring them over? Let them develop and bring them over when theyre more ready.

    They have 17 defenseman in the system. Signed and unsigned. 3 NCAA players, 1 USHL(NCAA bound), 5 swedes ages 19-21 (4 of which are legitmate prospects) None of which were signed prior to a month ago. 2 Finns, one being Pokka. the other was a 2016 6th round pick.

    That leaves Brisebois,Fournier,Cumiskey,Harrison, Schilling, and Valleau.

    Harrison, Brisebois, Cumiskey are all free agents.

    Next year as of now they’ll have Pokka, Dahlstrom, Norell, Schilling, Valleau, Fournier. Nothing spectacular there. I dont see the Hawks entering the season with all of Rundblad, Svedberg, Gustafson, and TVR on the roster. TVR probably stays. But I dont think any of the other 3 are safe. So I dont see any of those guys being sent down that would bump anyone.

  15. Both Svedberg and TVR will be 25 shortly. The guy everyone wants run out of town in Rundblad will turn 26 in October. Neither of the former are young prospects. TVR can be a solid bottom pair defenseman. Svedberg, while big. Doesnt use his size. He gets lost on the ice. He has a pretty good first pass. But when youre 6’8 you have to be that physically imposing presence. While he will never be fast, too many times ive seen him stop moving his feet, glide and try to use his reach to keep a player to the outside along the boards. He needs to skate, or more preferably hammer him into the boards. Thus breaking up any cycle that was about to be created.

    It’s funny. A lot of guys knock Pokka for his skating. Yet when you’re 6’8 its ok?

  16. Ernie,
    I cannot argue with that awesome response. Very well thought out and supported by solid reasoning and perspective.
    Thanks

  17. Sort of off topic, but why didn’t defenseman Christian Ehrhoff play down the stretch and in the playoffs? There was speculation that he was still suffering the effects of Reeves’s non-elbow. Or was he in Q’s doghouse, despite playing pretty dog-gone good everytime I saw him?

  18. I’d really like to get to some Rockford games next year so I can see the young guys play. I appreciate the stats on size and age, and the breakdown on points. I think an important thing though is how well these guys handle the puck, stay at home in the right position, and limit their turnovers. Obviously skating ability has something to do with that. But, the Blackhawks need to shore up the depth and limit the kinds of turnovers that put Crawford/Darling in bad situations (not letting the forward/center corp off the hook here).
    Some guys don’t have the impressive stats but have the instincts and good decision making that make a difference. Any thoughts on which of these guys might have these attributes such that they could contribute in 16/17?
    You would think that the Rundblad experiment has run its course and Erhoff doesn’t look to be in the club’s plans. Rosy maybe retired (?). Gustafsson and Svedberg obviously have the big club experience, but which of these other guys have the ability to play a steady role and shore up the uncertainty at those bottom D slots?

  19. Morrison- I do like Schmaltz… But man that Fabbri kid… Looks like a lot of teams are hitting themselves in the head right now…

    Knock on Schmaltz has been compete/taking shifts off…
    Fabbri is like a Mosquito… never stops

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