Blackhawks Prospects Ranked Among Top 50

Teravainen MIN

On Thursday morning, ESPN NHL Draft and Prospect analyst Corey Pronman released his rankings of the top 50 prospects in the NHL. Two Blackhawks prospects made his list, but with one notable name not making the list.

One Hawks prospect is climbing the rankings quickly.

24. Ville Pokka, D (previous ranking: 41)
Current team: Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL) | 2014-15 stats: 31 GP 6 G 9 A
DOB: 6-3-94 | Draft: No. 34, 2012

Pokka has looked pretty impressive as a rookie AHL player being used in all situations, and is among Rockford’s leaders in shots on goal. He’s not a flashy player, with Chicago’s assistant GM Norm Maciver describing him as a “cerebral defenseman who doesn’t get into trouble,” but he also makes offensive plays by getting into the attack and moving the puck well. He just needs to bulk up and get used to the physical battles in tight space. He was the main piece Chicago acquired in the trade that sent Nick Leddy to the Islanders.

Another has made the jump into the top 50.

40. Nick Schmaltz, C (previous ranking: Honorable mention)
Current team: North Dakota (NCAA) | 2014-15 stats: 17 GP 3 G 13 A
DOB: 2-23-96 | Draft: No. 20, 2014

Schmaltz was incredibly tough to rank. There are so many reasons to doubt him: He has a fringe physical game, his defensive value is questionable, and he can be invisible for stretches. On the other hand, he’s so damn talented. His skating, puck skills, and vision all get top grades; he’s a player who can dazzle on the offensive end. Will he dazzle enough as a pro? That is the looming question.

Not on the list was Teuvo Teravainen. Why? Pronman notes in his intro that “prospects are considered ‘graduated’ if they have more than 25 games played this season in the NHL, 50 career NHL games, or are currently on an NHL roster.” I asked him where Teravainen may have fallen in his ranking on Twitter, and he responded.

11 thoughts on “Blackhawks Prospects Ranked Among Top 50

  1. I thought it was 50games played/total. The on the roster excuse is bs.

    86 was 10th in most recent one before this (hockeysfuture).

    Can someone cutandpaste the 50, if that’s allowed.

  2. It’s always fun reading these prospect rankings but I always take them with a grain of salt. So much depends on how well an organization develops players once they turn pro. Pokka is a good example, he is playing a lot of minutes, had a rough game the other night but that’ll happen.

    Too early to discuss this but I would love the Blackhawks to move up in the draft to start infusing a higher end prospect or two … although Bowman tends to like taking chances on young players from other teams who haven’t gained traction yet (Runblad / Erixon as two notables).

  3. I was excited when Pokka was acquired in the Leddy deal because I remember him from the WJC last year. I watched several of Finland’s games because I was watching TT, but I recall Ristolainen and Pokka being good d-men. So as I was following TT in sm-liiga last year I noticed Pokka was playing very well in sm-liiga too. Pokka’s team (Karpat) won the championship and Pokka played a big role as one of the youngest guys on the team. He has a chance to be a good one – maybe not a 1/2 but probably a 3/4 is possible.

    Schmaltz – the offensive skills and skating are there. He has a chance too.

  4. As long as Pronman did that for all players its fine. But he still makes his criteria rather ridiculous. He’s making up his own rules to make his list easier to write. Come on!

    Its fun to think about the future, but this team is so good now. Exciting to know the Hawks still have high end players coming. The Stephen Johns I jury is troublesome. Reminds me a lot like Morin.

  5. Johns hasn’t played since roughly Thanksgiving due to the concussion and there doesn’t appear to be anything definitive on his return. Very troubling for a potential physical d-man type. They will need to get Paliotta out of Vermont signed to get another player of that ilk into the organization.

  6. I know Paliotta has some size, but ways thought of him as a more offensive player. How is Paliotta when it comes to being a physical type presence?

  7. Paliotta can lay the body ubt he’s not a guy who runs around looking to do so. Probably exactly why the Blackhawks drafted him.

    To amend my prior post, Stephen Johns is indeed skating again so he shouldn’t be too far away, barring any setbacks.

  8. Totally unrelated post . . . but go check out Big Buff’s highlights from Jets game with Luongo and Panthers on Tuesday. Focus on Perrault’s second goal (Buff does a fly by on Luongo from his D position) and Buff’s two goals. Big Buff’s first goal was a blue-line to dot rush (kind of reminded me of his OT goal vs. Rangers way back) followed by a wicked snap shot past Luongo. His second goal (Luongo was relegated to the bench after that goal) exemplified his “want” to jump into the offense from his D position. Note to Blackhawks, no one covered his point when he jumped in on that play.
    Buff was all over the ice, playing physical, and making plays. Fun to watch. But, I gotta believe hard to coach on a nightly basis.

  9. Hawks are woeful on forward prospects as far as top end talent. They’re good for 3rd & 4th liners.

    Consider them to have several very good D prospects.

    Yes, Johns was back several games, and playing very well. He checked Broadhurst in today’s game with the Wolves in Rockford and had to be helped off, not putting any weight on his left leg. Really sucks cuz I think he can be a 4 in the NHL. Right-handed shot, skates well, defends very well, passes well, will crush with hits. He’s the whole package. Was not impressed with him in his last Junior Tournament. I believe he’s come a long, long, way.

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