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Blackhawks Get Their Man In Lalonde

by John Sandberg / Chicago Blackhawks
Blackhawks amateur scout Mark Kelley had Belleville Bulls defenseman Shawn Lalonde’s name high on his draft wish list. But with no picks in the second round, the problem that Kelley and the Hawks faced was the ability to move up in time to get him. “We were actually trying to move up to the second round, and Shawn was the player we wanted,” said Kelley. “We kept on getting shut down when we tried to trade picks, but we were able to get a bite in the third round.

“Shawn’s the type of player that we had rated as first-round caliber,” added Kelley. “So at that point, we felt that it was time to get aggressive and go after him. He’s one of the top-10 skaters in the draft, and moves the puck well. He also has great recovery.”

Lalonde, who was selected with the 68th pick overall, became the fifth player in Belleville history to be selected by the Blackhawks and the first since Evan Brophey, who was also selected 68th overall in 2005.

“ Once the Blackhawks traded up, I had that hope that they would draft me,” said Lalonde. “It’s just amazing to be a part of this great organization. I met with Mr. Tallon and Mr. Dudley a few times and they showed the most interest in me. I just felt so comfortable, and I am so glad to be in this uniform. Hopefully, I will be able to play for (head coach) Denis Savard in a couple of years.”

A puck-moving defenseman who possesses outstanding skating ability, Lalonde scored six goals and tallied 20 assists in 58 games for the Bulls in 2006-07. Nicknamed “Lalsy,” Lalonde was selected ninth overall by Belleville in the 2006 Ontario Hockey League Draft. In two seasons on the blue line for the Bulls, the Orleans, Ontario, native tallied 57 points (15 G, 42 A) in 124 games, while he scored twice and added seven assists in 21 career playoff games. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder also finished his OHL career with an impressive +28 rating.

While Lalonde is projected to be an offensive-minded player, Belleville head coach and GM George Burnett believes that he has seen Lalonde make the most significant strides on the defensive end.

"I think Shawn has improved his play significantly defensively," Burnett said to "I think when he's made mistakes, he responds with good plays at both ends of the rink. Those are signs of a maturing young man. He's got dynamite wheels – NHL-caliber skating. He doesn't mind the corners and the battles and he's improving his skills and execution and all of those things on a regular basis."

Prior to Belleville, the right-hander played for the Cumberland Barons Minor Midget AA team for 10 years. In his final season with the Barons (2005-06), he totaled 54 points (18 G, 36 A) in 60 games. Lalonde has also gained experience on the international level, as he skated along side Blackhawks’ first-round pick Kyle Beach as a member of Team Canada at the Under-18 2007 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament, held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He also participated in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge last November.

“I will need to get stronger, as well as work on all aspects of my game,” said Lalonde, who patterns his game after Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom. “There’s a lot of motivation. I need to make the next step and work on my game. It’s been a long journey and a long year, so it was incredible to be selected by the Hawks. Hopefully, I can be in Chicago in a couple of years.”
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