Ivan Vishnevskiy: The Forgotten Option on the Chicago Blackhawks Blue-Line

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IJuly 26, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 10: Ivan Vishnevskiy #59 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on April 10, 2009 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Coming out of the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, many have been talking about how strong the Blackhawks defensive prospect depth is and that the likes of Shawn Lalonde, Ryan Stanton, and Nick Leddy might have a shot at making the 'Hawks out of training camp.

However, there is one player who is not getting a lot of attention and might have the best shot of making the 'Hawks out of camp; his name is Ivan Vishnevskiy.

Vishnevskiy is a former first round pick, 27th overall, of the Dallas Stars and was acquired by the Blackhawks from the Atlanta Thrashers for forward Andrew Ladd.

Last season Vishnevskiy spent the majority of the season in the American Hockey League splitting time between the Texas Stars and the Chicago Wolves.

In his 79 AHL games last season, Vishnevskiy tallied 10 goals and 16 assists between the two teams and was held scoreless in the two NHL games he appeared in.

Vishnevskiy is a small defenseman, in the mold of a Lubomir Visnovsky, know as a speedy, puck moving defenseman, with good ice vision and can also play the point on the power play.

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Vishnevskiy does not have the size of a Lalonde or Stanton, but he does have far more experience at the professional level and is further along in his development than the other two.

Vishnevskiy, only 22-years-old, already has 146 games under his belt at the AHL level and 55 points to show for it, which in my mind might be a more important to Blackhawks brass than just a strong showing at prospects camp.

I am not discounting the fact that LaLonde has had strong showings in a camp setting but Vishnevskiy has shown he can play the professional game which LaLonde has not.

The big stumbling block in Vishnevskiy joining the 'Hawks this season is his cap hit of $821,667 which is about $50,000 more than what LaLonde makes and at this point every dollar under the cap counts for the Blackhawks.

However if Vishnevskiy does make the 'Hawks out of camp what he would bring the Blackhawks is another puck moving defenseman who will easily adapt to the system and would also give them a second power play quarterback.

Training camp will certainly generate competition for the sixth and final spot along the blue-line, but when mentioning possible candidates for that final spot, do not count out the young Russian Ivan Vishnevskiy.