Defenseman Luc Snuggerud has seen his stock rise steadily ever since he was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Over three years at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, he's developed into an impactful two-way defender and a leader, and he made his professional debut last weekend with the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs. Below is his profile, one of eight featured in the March/April issue of Blackhawks Magazine, on sale now.
If there's one type of player a hockey organization can never have enough of, it's the mobile defenseman who can be useful in all three zones. Snuggerud, who recently finished his junior campaign at the University of Nebraska-Omaha before signing a pro contract, certainly looks like a potential two-way standout after a couple of massive seasons.
"Luc was going to step into a leadership role and be the go-to guy on the back end, and he's really embraced that," said Director of Player Development Mark Eaton, a longtime NHL defenseman himself. "The pressure has been on him, but he has handled it extremely well and been able to take his game to another level."
One of the first guys over the boards in all situations this season, the 2014 fifth-round pick was a major contributor offensively, quarterbacking the top-ranked power play in the NCHC. At the end of his season, Snuggerud led all NCAA defensemen with 11 goals; seven of them came with the man advantage, also tops among collegiate blueliners.
"One of the things he does really well is get his shot through to the net," Eaton said. "His one-timer is good, and he gets some good pace on his shot. But he also knows when to jump into holes and, most importantly, he does it without risk or putting himself in a bad position. His game is really suited to be that complete two-way defenseman who defends well and can make a good first pass and use his speed to join the rush in an offensive capacity."
There's no doubt that Snuggerud has put in the work to improve his game over the last three years, and that dedication will serve him well after turning pro, Eaton says. "Of all our prospects, he has such a pro mindset. He takes care of himself as well as anyone -- the off-ice routine, the nutrition -- and it's paid dividends for him on the ice."