Note: This article also contains a quick free agency update.
With their second to the last pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks selected defenseman Nick Mattson. Mattson played with the Indiana Ice (part of the USHL) and was part of the United States National Team Development Program. He will play hockey at the University of North Dakota starting next season.
A lot of scouts felt Mattson played much better when he was younger than he has in the recent past and feel that perhaps he isn’t as good as first billed. He has not one single outstanding quality that sticks out, but he is a complete player with solid skills all the way around. He should develop his skills much more in college which will help him prepare for the NHL.
One thing to note, it was a down year for Mattson (playing with the Indiana Ice). He scored just five goals and had 14 assists in a total of 51 games. He did do much better in the USHL playoffs, however, providing his team with six assists during their nine playoff games.
Finally, with the 191st pick in the draft (their last) the Blackhawks selected goalie Macmillian Carruth out of Portland (in the WHL).
Carruth was the second goalie that the Hawks took in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Prior to going to Portland, Carruth played for the Wenatchee Wild. After an injury on the Winterhawks, he was moved to that team to take over duties as a goalie. While there, he played in a total of 26 games and had 3.41 goals against average with a save percentage of .893.
Carruth has decent but not spectacular size for a goalie (he stands 6’2” and weighs 169 pounds) but he is effective. Carruth will probably spend another season with Portland and then attend college where his skills will continue to grow.
The Blackhawks did have one more pick in the draft at number 2010, but they traded it to the Boston Bruins for a seventh round pick in 2011.
Free Agency Update: The Blackhawks have stated that they have resigned Niklas Hjalmarsson after the San Jose Sharks has signed him to an offer sheet. This means that Hjalmarsson isn’t going to be going anywhere and the Hawks can keep certain pieces of their Stanley Cup Championship team together heading into the 2011 season.
Now they have to get to work on getting a deal done with goalie Antti Niemi. Many thought that the Hawks wouldn’t be able to keep both Niemi and Hjalmarsson, but as it turns out, they will. They just have to get Niemi at the right price.
Stay tuned for more on the Blackhawks offseason moves as well as a look ahead at their 2010-2011 schedule.