The Blackhawks signed forward Matheson Iacopelli on Tuesday morning, continuing their collection of prospects who have recently completed their college seasons. The 2014 third-round pick was an older entrant into the NCAA last season and initially had difficulty adjusting to the college game, but showed promising growth towards the end of his freshman year, which he finished with seven points (1G, 6A) in 27 games.
"He really became more of a 200-foot player [last season]," Development Coach Derek Plante said of Iacopelli's improvements. "It didn't translate to goals as much, and he was deficient in some areas of his game play, but I think that's why he was able to come out this year and be really good. He did so much of that [learning process] last year. It's not surprising that this year he's had a pretty good year."
Those adjustments resulted in even better numbers on the scoresheet in 2016-17. At the end of NCAA regionals, Iacopelli was one of 30 players to reach the 20-goal plateau, and he led a competitive NCHC in that area throughout most of the conference season; he paced WMU with 36 points, including a pair of assists in Friday's 5-4 loss to Air Force that ended the Broncos' season. The 22-year-old also totaled 166 shots on goal and averaged 4.15 per game, showing off the hard, accurate shot and quick release that could be his calling card in the pros.
"He's a kid that's a big body, can really skate and really shoot the puck, so he's got some excellent skills that can easily translate to the NHL level," Plante said.
Iacopelli will report to the Rockford IceHogs, joining fellow new pros in Anthony Louis and Luc Snuggerud.