Blackhawks Prospect Camp Preview: Defensemen


The Blackhawks prospect camp opens this weekend, and many of the organization’s top prospects will be on the ice.

As has been the trend with the Blackhawks under Stan Bowman’s guidance, there will be a strong college flavor at prospect camp. Of the blue line group at this year’s camp, 11 players saw action in an NCAA game during the 2013-14 season; Adam Clendening also came from the college ranks, leaving Boston University after the 2011-12 campaign.

It’s disappointing to see that Klas Dahlbeck isn’t on the roster, but one defenseman to keep an eye on is Carl Dahlström. Listed at 6-4 and 215 pounds, the 19-year-old was a second round pick by the Hawks last summer and will be one of the bigger players in camp. He’s uses his size well and is also a smooth puck handler as well.

Let’s take a look at the defensemen on this year’s camp roster.

Stephen Johns
Draft: 2nd round (60) – 2010
2013-14 Team(s): Notre Dame (NCAA), Rockford (AHL)

Adam Clendening
Draft: 2nd round (36) – 2011
2013-14 Team: Rockford (AHL)

Trevor vanRiemsdyk
Acquired: Free Agent (2014)
2013-14 Team: New Hampshire (NCAA)

Carl Dahlström
Draft: 2nd round (51) – 2013
2013-14 Team: Linköping (Sweden)

Michael Paliotta
Draft: 3rd round (70) – 2011
2013-14 Team: Vermont (NCAA)

Dillon Fournier
Draft: 2nd round (48) – 2012
2013-14 Team: Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)

Robin Norell
Draft: 4th round (111) – 2013
2013-14 Team: Djurgården (Sweden)

Robin Press
Draft: 7th round (211) – 2013
2013-14 Team: Sodertalje (Sweden)

Luc Snuggerud
Draft: 5th round (141) – 2014
2013-14 Team: Omaha (USHL)

Sam Jardine
Draft: 6th round (169) – 2011
2013-14 Team: Ohio State (NCAA)

Nick Mattson
Draft: 6th round (180) – 2010
2013-14 Team: North Dakota (NCAA)

Mathieu Brisebois
Acquired: Trade (from PHX with D. Rundblad)
2013-14 Team(s): Portland (AHL), Rockford (AHL)

Paul Phillips
Draft: 7th round (195) – 2009
2013-14 Team(s): Denver (NCAA), Colorado (ECHL)

The Free Agents:

  • Drew Brevig  (Ohio State)
  • Brenden Kotyk (Minnesota-Duluth)
  • Ryan Obuchowski (Yale)
  • Troy Strecher (North Dakota)
  • Michael Young (Nebraska-Omaha)
  • Dean Kukan
  • Christian Marti
  • Oliver Mebus


  • Klas Dahlbeck
  • Viktor Svedberg

20 thoughts on “Blackhawks Prospect Camp Preview: Defensemen

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:14 am

    So with the Cap issues and the potential of letting go of one of our current D-men who is ready to move up? Clendening?

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Very, very interesting list, with lots of competition. Dahlbeck not being on the list surely means the Hawks have him slotted for a roster position this year…we will see him at the main camp. Clendening needs to show that he is man amongst boys during this camp if he wants to start the season in CHI. It will be very interesting to see how much Dahlstrom’s offensive game has improved…apparently he worked hard on his skating and learning to join the rush in Sweden this year. I hope that he is signed to deal in Rockford after the camp. TVR needs to have a big camp as well if he has any hope of moving forward in this organization. And of course, how good will Stephen Johns be? He and Hartman were dynamite once they arrived in Rockford…our forwards had better remember to keep their heads up during camp.

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Bilbo, Dahlbeck will be in the mix this season, and Clendening could be too if he shows he belongs…I know he can, but what I think doesn’t matter…its up to Adam, the future is now, and he can do it, he just needs to want it.

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:35 am

    This is a good group, especially considering Dahlbeck isn’t in that list—not a top of the line (Doughty type) prospect in the list but a couple that could be 3 or 4 (maybe 2?) defencemen in the NHL. Let’s just say lots of quantity with some potential.
    Very strong college/US flavor under SB. My personal wish is that they get back into the CHL in the next couple of years. Other than the fact that the players tend to be more mature and ready out of US college what other reasons might Chicago have for going in this direction? Kevin Hayes is an example of what can happen to a first round pick.

    Just curious Tab, others thoughts?

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:48 am

    noonan96 – the Hawks have a lot more flexibility w/ the rights of players who go to college. Example: Stephen Johns played 4 years at Notre Dame and will now enter a two-year, entry-level contract. Phillip Danault, on the other hand, is 21 and has already burned one season of his three-year ELC in Rockford. Obviously players can come out of college early if they want (Leddy) or need (Olsen), but the fact that players can go somewhere and develop on someone else’s dime for four years is a tremendous asset for the organization financially long-term. I think Hayes is a great example of how impactful four full seasons of NCAA hockey can be for a young man; he matured on and off the ice a great deal over the last couple years.

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Noonan- I agree that there will be some good roster players in that good. A solid core of 3’s and 4’s that can help the Hawks, and be used as trade chips to aquire a top Dman.

    I also agree that the Hawks should get back into the CHL pool a little bit. One guy I thought could be a very good add was Josh Ho-Sang. Good OHL Numbers… a little bit of an attitude issue from what i read about him, but a very good talent for where we were drafting. And guys like 19/2/81 (and winning) can help attitude issues. But here we are with another College guy… what happens if Schmaltz “Kevin Hayes’s” us? Then we are out 2 first rounders… Is Scmaltz that good? He seems to be talented, and a good kid… but so did Hayes. To be honest he wasnt a guy I had heard much about going into the draft, so I just dont know.

  • July 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

    re: d-men who might contribute

    I’m of the school of thought that Dahlbeck would be the first player from this list to make the Blackhawks, but Johns isn’t very far behind. Clendening, vanRiemsdyk, Dahlstrom and Norell will all probably be NHL players in the not-too-distant future as well. This is a pretty good group of players behind a solid NHL roster.

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

    to Tim G’s concerns about getting “Hayes’d” by a college player:

    How much money have the Blackhawks paid Kevin Hayes?

    How much did they pay Kyle Beach? And for how many years did he waste a roster spot in the organization?

    Would you rather a kid develop on someone else’s dime or waste time, money & space inside the organization? Every prospect could be lightning in a bottle or hell on wheels… having a mix of kids in college gives the organization some time to let them develop while maintaining options elsewhere. Schmaltz grew up a Hawks fan so let’s doubt he specifically bails on the org… but if another prospect doesn’t work out or bails, it’s up to the front office and scouts to identify talent to replace them. Will the Blackhawks/IceHogs miss Kevin Hayes this year? Not sure… but this isn’t 2009 any more. One prospect isn’t going to make or break the future of the organization. Be thankful for that.

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I am hoping Hartman has a great camp. He was a leading scorer on a less than grat Plymouth Whaler team. He plays with an edge. Something I think the Hawks need to foster

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Sorry, this is about Dmen

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

    forwards are coming up at lunchtime, Mike. But I agree – great opportunity for Hartman

  • July 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Thats a very good points about “how much did we pay Hayes”, and another about using another person’s dime to build your talent.

    I guess my point (which i didnt say out right) is that we need to see a balance of the two. Some good college talent and some good CHLers

    But i will say, that missing out on an NCAA guy cost less its does create a gap in the chain… even if one prospect wont make or break the organization,

    While many teams have already seen contribution from the 2010 draft, we are still waiting, with the exception of what we saw of Nordstrom. My concern is that when these 2010 draft picks are suppose to be surplanting current roster pieces, we wont have guys “ready”. While it would be on our dime, how nice would it have been to have had a guy who could have effectively been called up instead of trading for Versteeg last year. I know hind-sight is 20/20, but what if we had Emerson Etem in the system vs Hayes being at BC? Again while missing out on a college kid costs less than missing out on a juniors kid, there is also a much higher % of juniors kids who “make it” vs NCAA kids, but that would be a different conversation.

    I mean what happens to the pipeline if in 2 year we declare Danualt, McNeill, Ross, and Dalhstrom as Busts and we still have to wait 2 years on all these college kids? We would need guys to help keep the roster turned over and we would have all these kids “stuck in college”. Just like burning through ELC’s too quick with CHL’s there is that issue of just not having a NCAA kid if you need/want him cuz he’s still in college.

    Issues with both side for sure… And trust me… Im very thankful for our team. Must better to be having these debates instead of being a Panther’s fan and trying to convince myself its ok to sign Bolland and Jokenin to 9.25M worth of contracts. lol (no offense to Panther fans)

  • July 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

    First off,…I think if the Hawks do decide to look at Rockford to fill their defensive roster, (Dahlbeck, Johns and Clendening) will be the top 3.
    With the Cap being the way it is,…it is actually fun trying to predict the 2014-15 roster. We think we know it,…but, there will be twists and turns. However, the Hawks being handcuffed allows the fans to increase their percentage of being correct about the opening day roster. (Okay,…I still didn’t see the Hawks signing Brad Richards. One word for that. STEAL).
    I never seem to get the correct answer when it comes to figuring out what Stan is going to do,…but,…boy do I try. So,…I will try again this year. Presently being > 2.2m the current $69m cap,… I would think:
    * Teravainen get’s more playing time in Rockford
    * (Regin signing confuses me a little,…other than the fact it’s near league min)…so, he’s going to make the roster
    * Morin signing a one way contract means Mo get’s his shot (I hope…I really do).
    * I’ve heard “rumblings” about P. Sharp,…but, I don’t see it as a primary move. I think the Hawks look at Oduya. Trading him allows the Hawks to actually fill an extra player on the roster. Allows a Clendening or someone we don’t envision Q looking at (remember Nordstrom from last year? Who saw that coming?)
    * I’ve heard “fan” rumbling about Versteeg. I hope that is the fans being impatient. I actually like Steeger and think he’s a solid player when healthy. <25% he goes.
    *Hawks will be playing Rundblad more this year,…hope he's ready. Hawks prepared for this move last year. Let's see how that works.
    * Hawks could try to get rid of Rozsival,…but I don't know if they'd get anything of value for him. So, I say this move is <5%. I think Leddy is slightly more <10%. (I'm still liking Oduya < 45% to open up space on the roster). I'm liking this move a lot.
    *Kevin Hayes…NO way in hell he signs with the Hawks (is there?). He sees that on the Hawks roster and in their system, Kevin is way down the list and he wants to make it to the show as fast as possible. That WILL NOT happen with the Hawks system. So, I expect him to sign elsewhere….Florida, anyone? (The Florida Junior Blackhawks…a.k.a. Panthers). btw…not disappointed in him leaving.

  • July 11, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I’d go with 90% chance that Hayes plays in Calgary next year, not Florida.

    I’m kind of surprised that the Hawks haven’t moved someone yet. I don’t know if Stan is waiting for a team (Red Wings, Isles, etc) to get desperate because they missed out on the FA they wanted and know they have a hole to fill. You’d have to think that Stan wants it figured out before the convention, so they aren’t trotting someone around that they know they are going to move.

    PS- I hope Johns doesn’t catch TT with his head down.

  • July 11, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Many thanks for the response Sr. Brad!

  • July 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I don’t see the worry about the College players at all…Hayes may very well walk on us, BUT WHY???

    The Hawks see him as a young player with talent, but who has holes in his game that he needs to develop, CLEARLY Hayes disagrees and sees himself as someone who can play now and develop over 1 season IN THE NHL. If the Hawks agreed with Hayes, he would be here now! The only reason he is not here now, is that his camp have asked the Hawks to guarantee him a timeline to a roster spot in CHI and the Hawks WON’T do this…not that they can’t…but that they WON’T…we could agree right now to have Hayes take that 12th forward spot and develop, but clearly this isn’t what the Hawks want to do. We are not the Calgary Flames, thankfully.

    So if Hayes walks and becomes a STAR, then the Hawks entire organization will have been gassed by Hayes current abilities, which I highly doubt. So look at it this way, if the Hawks were SURE that Hayes was going to be a top 6 guy now, he would be signed and ready for camp. He’s not because the Hawks don’t believe this. So how big of a deal is it if Hayes walks…we have lots of bottom 6 forwards that are ready to go now.

    No College prospect would ever dump the Hawks and refuse to play for them…it might happens with Hayes but only because he and the Hawks disagree as to where he is right now…this is thus being controlled by the Hawks and NOT Hayes.

    As Tab has laid out, going with the College kids gives the Hawks a very effective means of developing mature kids, and it works based on our core of talent.

  • July 12, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Fantastic write-up. I am interested to see how far Paliotta has come. Right handed, big defenseman with some offensive upside and a bit of snarl to his game. He might be the reason why stan and company did not sign Justin holl, who I thought had an excellent senior year on the top pair in Minnesota.

    Also dillon Fournier. I’m curious whether he is over shoulder surgery and can actually play in Rockford or if he might be headed for the echl.

    Van riemsdyk also intrigues me since the hawks beat out other teams to sign him. Since he is a bit older, he will have to show he can play and has NHL upside pretty quickly.

    Also nick mattson, he was very good offensively when I saw him play for No dak against Omaha but is just a decent college player who eventually plays in the ahl or is he a 3rd pairing NHL defenseman ?

  • July 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Craig, great insight…I thought the same thing…a lot of people weren’t aware of it, but Holl really added the defensive part of his game this past season, and with his speed and size, I thought he was a natural for the Hawks to develop…but Paliotta quietly had a great season…he really added an offensive part to his game and was just nasty in front of his own net…I really do think that he and Dahlstrom will be the 2nd wave behind Dahlbeck, Clendening and Johns…the Hawks D moving forward looks great with lots of size and toughness.

  • July 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    There are a few posters here and other message boards who watch Icehogs hockey and provide first hand observations. Every one of them have commented on how well Johns played in Rockford at the end of the season (8 games I believe). I watched him play for ND on TV a handful of times and always thought he looked very good. His physicality is most often commented on, and rightly so, but his skating/mobility is far better than what I was expecting. His offensive game is better than I was led to believe from comments over the previous years. His game has obviously progressed and I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he’s up with the Hawks before the end of next season. In fact, depending which player(s) Stan trades to get Cap compliant, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hammer go back to his natural LD position and Johns play with him at RD. Johns has enough of an attack game to keep the PMD/SAH d-pairings Q likes.

    Which leads me to the LD/RD situation. For years the Hawks have been LD heavy (Keith, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Leddy), so much so the Hammer switched to play RD. But now it looks like the pendulum has swung and most of the young d-men coming up are RD (Dahlbeck, Johns, Rundblad, Clendening, TvR). While that is great from an asset perspective (with RDs harder to find), how does it shake out for the Hawks going forward? With Keith and Hammer at LD on the top-2 pairings – who plays LD on the 3rd pairing? If one of Leddy/Oduya is on the team in 2015/16, then he is your 3rd pairing LD, albeit an expensive one. But if both Leddy and Oduya have been jettisoned for Cap relief – then who plays the 3rd LD?

    How about this d-corps to open the 2015/16 season:


    Ah … good times.

  • July 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    It might also be interesting to see what this kid from north Dakota Troy stretcher brings. By all accounts they love him there. He also just tweeted last week that he was at Vancouver Canucks camp. Now mind you I have not seen him play in person, but he seems to be getting a lot of invites to camps and the skinny on him is that he is Avery confident, vocal leader.

    Again that doesn’t mean he’s an NHL player butttt, if he has leadership qualities and is a great skater, that is the type of player the hawks often target.

    Back to holl, and this is beating a dead horse and a moot point,but. A few weeks ago I was told here in Omaha that the hawks were trying to sign holl. I doubled checked that and found out that was true. For whatever reason it appears he will go Ufa on August 15
    But by all indications are the hawks were interested in signing him but he has chosen to go a different route. Referring back to my previous post about Paliotta, it could be that the hawks said “fine” we have others like him to make room for so be it.

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