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Chicago Blackhawks Special-Post Draft Scouting Analysis

by Bill Placzek on Jun. 24, 2012

Chicago Blackhawks 2012 Draftees Special: Bonus Post-Draft Scouting Reports

 

Teuvo Teräväinen  C-LW-RW   (18) 

Prospect analysis:

As this draft approached I wondered if most of the defenders were going to be off the board at this point, and if the Hawks would start looking for a forward that was an elite skilled guy or a muscleman.

 

My thinking was that the Blackhawks have drafted forwards, but none were dynamic or dominant first line scorers. In a draft where there was very little North American skill, Teräväinen has the fastest, softest hands of anybody, and one of the top passes.

 

When I saw him in August in the Ivan Hlinka, he looked short and slight and disappeared at times…seemed to be waiting for the puck, possibly because he felt he had to handle a big part of the scoring load. 

 

It was apparent he is exceptional on his feet with phenomenal balance. He is not quick, but explosive out of the tight turns, making the defense look plain silly with how he controls the pace, creates space, and opens up his linemates for puck reception. He makes passing in tight traffic look easy. He was not in the World Junior though, as they iced a veteran squad that combined older skilled guys with heavy lifters.

 

By the Five Nations Tourney, the one dimensional player I had seen in August, now had a firm defensive zone commitment. He also seemed taller, but still slight. He played disciplined, and used his incredible hand-eye coordination in the defensive zone. Players don't get a bead on him because he is so shifty and in control on the carry outs. I hadn't realized he lined up so much at center and was an above average face-off man. 

 

It was clear to me he is a player comfortable playing all three forward positions, but one who, like Kane, loves setting upon the half-wall. His better commitment to defense was again in place, venturing in through the dirty areas, but he is never going to be counted on for physicality along the wall. Don't expect him driving through checks, but rather avoiding them. Uses his boots and 'soccers' the puck to his blade.

 

He has an incredible one-timer. If he is near the circles and gets the puck, it's coming.

 

Forget about taking the puck from him when he has it calmed down, because he has excellent puck possession skills, and he draws the defender in. Either he is gone or the puck is on the tape of his linemate. By the 2012 Under-18 World Championship, he spent the majority of the season playing in Finland’s top league, the SM-Liiga, and seemed physically spent and out of gas, and unable to be that fireball difference-maker.

 

To me, it was forgone conclusion he would never be around by 18. 

 

So…why was he? The unusual defensive class, causing the sudden free-fall in forwards, and what I felt were two reaches in Tomas Hertl and Tom Wilson. It seems teams might have been trying to imitate the L. A. formula. He is never going to be big, or a power guy. Just a gritty, elite scorer who is a fierce competitor with a fearless demeanor and projects as a top line attacker.

 

Dillon Fournier  LhRD  (48) 

Prospect analysis:

 

Fournier is a smooth all-compass quick skater who tends to stay home but has excellent up-side as an attacker. Is lean and will need to fill out his frame and gain functional strength to progress. Has excellent vision and he reads the play. His head is on a swivel, and is excellent in transition, pushing the action ahead with a pass or jumping quickly to the corners to rub out attackers aggressively. He closes quickly, and robs an attacker of time and space due to his top end speed, excellent lateral agility, and movement. Has an active stick, and a very good, crisp outlet. Actually skates the biscuit well out of this zone, and quickly receives and sends the puck on the attack. Although possessing a calm demeanor, he needs to work on staying in better control and not putting himself out of position, losing coverage in the process. Not necessarily projected as a PP QB, as his shot is average, but he is a work in progress, as he displays offensive instincts. He had some shoulder problems this season. His skating and aggressive nature might be what raised him up the Blackhawk's list.

 

Chris Calnan  RW (79) trade with SJ

Prospect Analysis:

High schooler who is a tad shorter than six foot three and displays good feet, good release, and grit. He is a North-South skater with a wide skating base and good balance, who can make plays while at his top speed. Understands the game tempo, sees the ice well and plays a simple game with no outstanding areas. This larger wing keeps it simple and causes problems for the opposition at both ends. The fact that he works so hard creates turnovers in his puck battles. Hard worker who uses his size and strength to create pressure and timely passes. A very good forechecker, takes pucks away and, after engaging with the defenseman, will quickly set up the attack before they can re-position themselves. Has a a heavy wrister, and gets open to let it go in the circles and on in. He shows decent enough grit, skating, passing, and shooting abilities to think that he can ascend the ladder to pro. His bread and butter will be as a smart, big checker who battles every shift to gain space and engage the opposition in contact. Truly has upside as a possible third-line NHLer who will be fine tuning his functional strength and game with Boston College this Fall.  

 

Garret Ross LW (139) 6' 0" 169

Prospect Analysis:

Tough Michigan-born wing who in his third season with Saginaw provide 54 points including 25 goals. Similar to Andrew Shaw in that he also is a third-year eligible who was passed on the prior two years because he simply had too few scoring numbers except for PIM's in the 100's. Flew completely under radar.

 

Travis Brown  LD  (149)

Prospect Analysis:

Developing defensive prospect with size and agility. He basically got far more looks and responsibility when teammate Morgan Rielly went down with his injury. Big-bodied first year player in the Dub, was credited with Moose Jaw staying a top team during Rielly's absence. He tied for his team's lead in plus/minus with a +19. A really smart player who understands all on-ice situations. Controls and closes gap space, uses his body to engage, and always maintains strong defensive zone coverage. Has a strong point shot, offensive upside, and can move efficiently. Likes to boom the puck in front of the point and will continue to improve as a puck distributer on the PP. Will need to be a guy who uses his size more, especially on the wall. His slender frame needs thickening and he needs improved leg strength, but has upside.

 

Vince Hinostroza RC /W(169) 5' 9"  161

Prospect Analysis:

Chicago area native is listed as a center but has seen more time as a winger. A smart playmaker with a great burst, lateral shiftiness, and good passing ability. He is an elusive puck carrier with high hockey IQ coupled with good involvement in both ends, excellent puck skills, lots of creativity, and is a flat-out superb skater that blows by the opposition in open-ice tight quarters. He needs work on stop/starts and getting involved down low. Not a perimeter player, but needs to engage and compete more in traffic. 

 

Brandon Whitney  G (191)  6' 5"  191

Prospect Analysis:

I liked the big goaltender enough to throw him up to slot 79 of the mock. I am more than shocked he was there in the last round and 190 players were chosen before him. Was able to push Victoriaville vet David Honzik, so much so that they almost slip the choirs 50/50. Displays excellent lateral movement and athleticism. So tall that he can cover the top corners while on his knees! Also able while in the butterfly to have his long legs reach post to post! His stance alone takes up a whole lot of net, and combined with being strong down low, you start to see how similar he is to the many big NHL goalers who now dominate the goalie community. Very cool and calm under pressure. Has a good glove, plays the angles well, and tracks the puck really well in traffic. Uses his blocker and pads to angle shots to the corners. Was one of the goalers in the CHL Prospects game and started for Team Cherry. 

The downside is he is need of further development. He was unable to get play for Canada, as he was completely outshined by Matt Murray.

 

(See more scouting profiles by Bill Placzek, by clicking on each player in the draft)