The Chicago Blackhawks took a local prospect with their first-round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft. West Dundee, Illinois native Ryan Hartman donned the Indian head sweater on the podium with general manager Stan Bowman and other members of the front office.
Bowman thanked the New Jersey Devils for hosting the draft, the Boston Bruins for their hospitality in the Stanley Cup Final and the Chicago fans before announcing the drafting of Hartman. It looked like the Blackhawks focused on picking up an edgy competitor with the last pick in the first round.
Hartman is 18 years old and just completed his first season in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers. He appeared in 56 games and totaled 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists). The forward also compiled 120 penalty minutes.
A shade under six feet, Hartman is 185 pounds of competitor, according to most scouting services. In a preview on the NHL website, Chris Edwards of NHL Central Scouting described Hartman this way:
He's not the biggest guy, but he shows no fear of getting involved and battles for the puck. He can hit hard and is aggressive on the forecheck. He sees the ice well, gets the puck through traffic with creative passes and offers a very good shot that he gets off quickly.
Hartman was a member of this year's gold medal-winning U.S. team at the World Junior Championships. He impressed his coach, Phil Housley, who played almost 1500 NHL games in his storied career. Housley said about Hartman, "He's a guy who can play center or wing, so that proves to me right off the bat the range he has as a player."
Names thrown out as comparisons to Hartman included Brad Marchand of the Bruins, as well as Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw of this year's Stanley Cup champs. He seems to be a good skater and is a local kid to boot.
I would imagine that Hartman spends at least another season in juniors before signing with the Blackhawks. With a lot of talented forwards in the organization, Chicago can afford to wait for Hartman to develop.
Chicago's next pick is in the fourth round, barring a trade to obtain more picks. Congratulations to Hartman for landing as a hometown selection by the 'Hawks.