Nick Schmaltz

Schmaltz, McNeill Ranked Among Hawks Top Prospects

With the Blackhawks still looking for a first round pick in this week’s NHL Draft, let’s look at what some other outlets have said about Chicago’s prospect pool.

The Hockey News‘ Ryan Kennedy named Nick Schmaltz the Blackhawks prospect of the year. He added: “Edging out Ville Pokka for the Hawks award, Schmaltz was one of North Dakota’s top scorers as a college freshman – not easy on that squad.”

In their review of the Blackhawks’ pipeline from the 2014-15 season, Hockeys Future named Mark McNeill the organization’s prospect of the year, saying:

“There may be some slight controversy with the recipient of the Prospect of the Year award. Ever since the 2014-15 season began, all eyes were on Teuvo Teravainen, the flashy Finn whose potential for top-six stardom has had Blackhawks fans eagerly awaiting his full-time arrival to the NHL. While Teravainen did join the Blackhawks at the last half of the season and looked quite good, there was another former first-round pick who had a stellar year in his own right.

The IceHogs have had a phenomenal 2014-15 season, and they can partially thank Mark McNeill for that. The 22-year-old forward was one of Rockford’s most consistent point producers throughout the season, earning 44 points (23 goals, 21 assists) in 63 games for the IceHogs. McNeill continues to earn the trust of head coach Ted Dent, who has used McNeill on both the power play and penalty kill units. There has been some chatter about McNeill’s future with the Blackhawks, seeing as how he was never one of the club’s call-ups throughout the year. Don’t be surprised, however, if McNeill earns a roster spot with the Blackhawks come opening night.”

In their spring update to their top 50 prospect rankings, HF had only one Hawks prospect listed (Teuvo Teravainen at #10)

16 thoughts on “Schmaltz, McNeill Ranked Among Hawks Top Prospects

  1. I think your missing the point of what a top prospect is Ernie. It’s not all about goals and assists, as the article mentions he played on their PP and PK as well. He also finished a +14 and only had 23 PIM. They also have players work on specific aspects of their game down at Rockford at times. So not only is he producing offensively he becoming better and better defensively, and to succeed in the Blackhawks system you have to be responsible at both ends of the ice. He is doing that. He is 22 years old and was 2nd in points on the team and is considered a leader both on and off the ice. This also is “Prospect of the Year” for the Blackhawks organization not the entire league.

  2. I got the point. Just never been a fan of his. And I dont think the Hawks are either. Why else call up Danault? I think the Hawks have better prospects than him. Johns led the team in scoring in the playoffs and he missed almost 2 full games. 1 game he didnt play, the other he broke his wrist. Johns led the entire AHL with a +30, despite missing 15 games during the regular season because of a concussion. I can think of 3 players I would put before McNeil. 4 if you include Teuvo

  3. Why wasn’t McNeill called up with the black aces for the playoffs along with the supposed top prospects

  4. ^^ Good question. Either he was hurt or they didn’t think it was necessary. I heard or read nothing about McNeill being hurt. This prospect list says he had a good year and played in all situations … I heard their biggest concern with him is consistency.

    Can consistency be improved? Probably. Will he get a chance to improve it in the Chicago organization? I suspect we’ll know soon.

  5. Ernie, An all around game for any hockey player can’t be stressed enough and how this contributes to winning. There have been several high goal scoring young players that couldn’t cut it with coach Q for a reason. Looking at top plus-minus ratings in the league. The Hawks have 4 players out of the top 20 best active plus-minus players in the league…led by Hossa at 3rd and Toews at 8th. There is a reason the Hawk defense has been so good and was tied for lowest goals allowed this year… because it is an all around team effort!!

  6. McNeil would be my pick to make the Hawks next year because he can play defense, also he probably wasn’t called up because they already had established nhlers to fill an injury need

  7. Danault is a better defensive prospect that Mcneil could ever dream of. And similar offensive numbers this year. Hence why Danault was recalled and Mcneil wasn’t.

  8. With the exception of Versteeg and Bickell alternating views from the press box, what other established NHL player did the Hawks have in the playoffs? Surely Nordstrom wasn’t established. Carcillo? Pass. Of the two forwards they elected to recall Mcneil wasn’t one of them.

  9. I have very limited observations of McNeill – 99+% of my opinion is based on hearsay. The reports I’ve read have not been flattering. The word “float” is used a lot and passion and energy is questioned, especially when often compared with Danault’s high intensity. I’ve also seen him compared to Bickell, and not in a good way.

    I thought it was telling when he was not brought up as a Black Ace, and if I recall correctly he wasn’t brought up last year either. Maybe I’m reading more into that than warranted, but there it is.

    As a Hawks fan, I hope he turns out to be a very good player. But at this point my expectations are not very high.

  10. Great comments by all!!

    It seems that McNeill is not what the Hawks brass is looking for when they envision the future of this roster. However, Hockey Future is really helping us out here and potentially inflating his value. In fact, I don’t believe his value will ever be higher that it is now based on the year he had. I think a mid-season call-up would also have helped his value but they didn’t do that. All that being said, he seemingly is positioned to be shipped out as part of a package for picks/prospects.

  11. I think we also have to note performance bonuses. According to capfriendly, Hartman and van Riemsdyk did not have bonuses where as Mcneil, Johns, and others did. Danault, Nordstrom, and Teravainen also had bonuses so maybe it means nothing. But a cap strapped team like the Hawks didn’t want any overage from this year applied to next

  12. Hockeys future is written essentially by fans, for fans. Teams will form their own opinion of other teams prospects and HF should not influence that opinion. Much like what Parcels said of Mel Kiper’s mock draft analysis

  13. I missed that the comments on McNeill where from HockeysFuture, which now that I know that kind makes those comments more understandable. My opinion of HockeysFuture is not very high. More than a few times I’ve read assessments of Hawks prospects from them that could only have been written by someone with either dated of incomplete knowledge. That’s not to say they don’t get things right sometimes, but it is to say you can’t count on them being more than boilerplate pablum.

  14. Totally agree ER. It’s meant as a fan site to get the average fan excited. The more pleased a fan leaves the site, the more frequent they will return. The more people return the more ad/ revenue they create. The main writer for the Hawks articles on Hockeys future is Anthony Lyen. Apparently hes a teacher, and a Hawks fan. He’s on twitter and pretty much just regurgitates things from actual reporters

  15. Should also note Lyen said TVR was the highest risk/reward prospect. I dont agree with that either. He stated TvR suffered a fractured left patella (accurate) and suffered a similar injury in college. Fractured ankle is nothing like a fractured kneecap.

    I think it must be noted TvR’s game is not of the risk reward variety. He has 1 point in his NHL career, albeit a short one. Going forward he will be known as a steady NHL player. David Rundblad is more of the risk reward. Same can be said for Pokka. I don’t think Mr. Lyen’s analysis of TvR or much of his analysis really is that accurate. He has his opinion. I have mine.

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