Over the past few years, the Blackhawks have been players for college free agents. Chicago has signed a handful of college free agents including Drew LeBlanc, Matt Carey, Kyle Baun and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Last summer the Hawks made a serious play to sign Jimmy Vesey as well.
So as college seasons begin to wind down, who could be the names linked to Chicago as free agents this spring?
Zach Aston-Reese, forward, Northeastern
DOB: Aug. 10, 1994
2016-17: 36 games, 30 goals, 32 assists, 62 points
Aston-Reese is having a terrific senior season at Northeastern, where he’s a teammate of Blackhawks draft picks Dylan Sikura and Ryan Shea. He’s had an incredibly productive season and has good size. Aston-Reese leads the country with 30 goals and is tied for the national lead with four short-handed goals as well.
Nick Schilkey, forward, Ohio State
DOB: May 12, 1994
2016-17: 30 games, 26 goals, 14 assists, 40 points, 15 PPG
Schilkey has scored double-digit goals all four years at Ohio State, and is having his more productive season as a senior. Before Ohio State, Schilkey spent two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL, where he was a teammate of Nick Schmaltz. One of the Buckeyes’ netminders, Matt Tomkins, was drafted by Chicago in the seventh round in 2012. Schilkey has been Ohio State’s captain for two year.
Joel Messner, defenseman, Omaha
DOB: March 11, 2994
2016-17: 33 games, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, 76 blocked shots
Messner also has two current teammates who were drafted by the Blackhawks, Fredrik Olofsson and Luc Snuggerud. Messner is a top shot blocker who has a short-handed goal on his resume this year as well.
Mike Vecchione, center, Union
DOB: Feb. 25, 1993
2017-17: 34 games, 26 goals, 32 assists, 58 points, 26 blocked shots, 61.5% faceoff
Vecchione is among the national leaders in points, game-winning goals (six) and short-handed goals (four). He has been the captain at Union for two seasons.