Bill Sweatt was a second-round draft choice (38th overall) of the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2007. The 24-year-old forward from Elburn, Ill., attracted the NHL scouts with his speed, decent hockey sense and skill set.
The Blackhawks were unable to sign Sweatt to a professional contract due to the fact he chose to play out his college career in Colorado, and the Hawks ended up trading his rights and forward Kris Versteeg to Toronto for Viktor Stalberg, Philippe Paradis and Chris DiDomenico.
With Bill Sweatt refusing to sign with the Maple Leafs, he became a free agent in the summer of 2010. During that summer, he decided to join his older brother Lee Sweatt in the Vancouver Canucks system to hopefully play in the NHL one day.
Blessed with speed and average size, Bill Sweatt has struggled to find his offensive game to break out as a prospect for the Canucks. In the 2010-11 season, Sweatt registered 46 points in 80 games with the AHL Manitoba Moose, and in 2011-12 season, his figures dropped to 34 points in 71 games.
The upside of Bill Sweatt is certainly declining quickly, but he has a very good chance of becoming a regular NHL player soon. With a good defensive game and speed to burn, Bill Sweatt can be transformed into a checking line player for the Canucks.
Sweatt ended the 2010-11 season with -9 rating, but he improved in that area to +9 in 2011-12. If Bill Sweatt enters the Canucks training camp in good shape, perhaps adding some strength to his 190-pound frame, then the Canucks could give him a spot in the bottom-six role to be a checking line player and penalty killer.
With that said, Bill Sweatt has one of the busiest and most critical summers in his professional hockey career ahead of him.
This is Joseph Trenton reporting from Vancouver.
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