As one of the smallest prospects in the Blackhawks system, Anthony Louis has always had to prove himself a bit more than his peers. But the local kid (hailing from Winfield, Ill.) has parlayed a successful four-year career at Miami of Ohio into a contract, and he'll now try to prove himself at the pro level. Louis was one of eight prospects profiled in the upcoming March/April issue of Blackhawks Magazine, on sale Sunday, March 19. Here's what the Blackhawks development staff had to say about Louis' potential.
"Small" is a designation that would doom a lot of hockey hopefuls, but size has never been a deterrent for Louis, who joins a handful of Blackhawks prospects who don't move the scales much, but their stats tell a different story. For the 2013 sixth-round pick, a strong senior season at Miami of Ohio was crucial to his hopes of turning pro, and he responded by leading the team in all offensive categories while serving as an alternate captain, recording 39 points points (14G, 25A) in 36 games, third-most in the NCHC.
"His game last year wasn't really where he wanted it to be for some reason, but he had a tremendous summer and right from day one he has been as good as he can be, the way he needs to play," Development Coach Derek Plante said. "I don't know if he's really had any bad games this year. Going back for a fourth year has really helped his consistency and his maturity level, making sure he's ready to go all the time."
At 5 feet, 7 inches and 150 pounds, Louis needs to make up for his lack of size with other qualities: elusiveness, positional awareness and strength on his skates, to go along with the high-end playmaking potential that has always been his calling card, and next year he'll try to become the latest Illinois product to play professionally close to home.
"His awareness is very good, as is his ability to find space and use that to make people chase him," Plante said. "There's always the question of how that's going to translate to the [pro] level, and that's for him to prove, but he does have some special skills. He's a pretty small guy, but so be it. So what? He's got a lot of talent."
As for how he'll fit into the Blackhawks system, Plante says his strengths could work well alongside another recent signing, John Hayden: "Hayden can create some space, and Louis can kind of dipsy-doodle around, use the space available."