This week, some of the top prospects in the Blackhawks organization will get together to show each other, and the organization, how NHL-ready they might (or might not) be at this point.
We’ve already looked at some of the top forwards that will be in attendance. Now, let’s discuss some of the defensemen.
Drafted: 2nd round (36th overall) in 2011
Clendening had a superb season at Boston University this year, finishing the 2011-12 season tied for the the lead among Hockey East defensemen with 33 points (4G, 29A) in 38 games. He also led Team USA defensemen at the 2012 World Junior Championships with five points (one goal, four assists) in six games. The Blackhawks signed Clendening to an entry-level contract on June 1 and the front office is very high on his ability to be an impact defenseman in the NHL soon.
Drafted: 2nd round (48th overall) in 2012
Fournier was the #1 overall pick in the QMJHL Draft in 2010, and had a solid season for Rouyn-Noranda last year (38 points and 59 penalty minutes in 58 games).
Drafted: 3rd round (79th overall) in 2011
Dahlbeck signed an entry-level deal on the same day as Clendening and is an interesting player to watch this week. He’s a bigger body who is described as more of a stay-at-home defenseman. He played last year in the Swedish Elite League.
Drafted: 2nd round (54th overall) in 2010
Holl just finished a nice second season at the University of Minnesota, posting 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 38 penalty minutes and an impressive plus-18 in 43 contests.
Drafted: 3rd round (70th overall) in 2011
A big body who shoots right-handed, Paliotta has a lot of international experience (gold at U17 WHC in 2010 and gold at U18 WJC in 2011). He had four goals and six assists in 30 games at the University of Vermont last year.
Drafted: 6th round (169th overall) in 2011
Jardine was one of the youngest players selected in the 2011 Draft, and will matriculate to Ohio State this fall after a successful final season with Camrose of the AJHL last year. He scored 11 goals and added 19 assists with 83 penalty minutes in 51 games.
As was the case with the forwards at this year’s camp, the size of the defensemen invited this year is impressive. Even without Stephen Johns on the list, only four of the 17 defensemen on the roster are under 6-1 and six players are over 200 pounds.
If you’re attending the camp, you’ll undoubtedly notice free agent invitee Viktor Svedberg, who is listed at a Chara-like 6-9 and 223 pounds. There will also be some special attention paid to another free agent in attendance, Michigan State’s Jake Chelios (son of Chris).