|Defenseman Michael Paliotta was one of two third-round picks in the 2011 NHL Draft (Getty Images).
The Blackhawks selected 11 players in this weekend's 2011 NHL Entry Draft, adding lots of new talent into an already deep system. But what are these players' strengths and weaknesses? chicagoblackhawks.com brings you what draft experts had to say about some of the top picks. Today's scouting report: Michael Paliotta (70th overall), Klas Dahlbeck (79th), Maxim Shalunov (109th) and Sam Jardine (169th).
MICHAEL PALIOTTA, D, USNTDP U-18
Red Line Report: “Nice combination of size, long reach and mobility. Not punishing physically or naturally aggressive, but uses his big body to knock opponents off the puck and gain possession. Strong all-compass skater with quick feet in the short areas for a big man—able to contain quicker forwards and stick with his check in coverage down low. Good defensive positioning and awareness. Passes are off-target at times and makes some poor decisions under forechecking pressure. He is more confident and accurate passing from a stationary position rather than on the move. Plays things simply when he crosses the red line, just dumping the puck in. Not creative or instinctive enough to be effective on the power play, where quick decisions in puck distribution are required. Shot is hard but he has trouble getting it through traffic.”
The Hockey News: “A physical defense-first blueliner with pro size, not a lot of flash ... The 6-3, 198 pounder plays a meat-and-potatoes style behind the blueline, and he usually makes the safe, smart play ... A member of the U.S. gold medal squad at the 2011 IIHF World U-18 Championship, he is committed to attend the University of Vermont... lacks an offensive dimension to his game but skates very well for his size.”
KLAS DAHLBECK, D, Linköping (SWE)
Red Line Report: “Older, third-year eligible has been solid as a rock all season long. Handled lots of playing time in the SEL very maturely. Simple defensive rearguard with very good size and terrific skating ability. Skates the puck out of danger when needed. A very safe pick.”
The Hockey News: Passed over twice in the draft, he appeared in 47 games in the Elitserien in 2010-11, producing eight assists ... has a very projectable frame at 6-2, as well as sound defensive instincts ... was rated 23rd among International skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings ... doesn’t have much offensive ability, so he’s more of a stay-at-home type.”
MAXIM SHALUNOV, RW, Chelyabinsk (Rus-Jr.)
Hockeysfuture.com: “The right winger possesses a very nice set of skills including a strong shot and undeniable skating abilities that allow him to be a dangerous player whenever he touches the ice. His impressive combination of size and speed makes him a tough player to deal with. That also means that his game could translate with relative ease to the North American ice surface and different style. [Last summer] Shalunov was one of the few bright spots for Team Russia at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. He contributed with two goals and one assist to Team Russia’s final fifth place. Shalunov has what it takes to play a top-six role in the NHL one day.”
SAM JARDINE, D, Camrose (AJHL)
Thescoutingreport.org: “Jardine has all of the intangibles that you need from a top pairing defenseman. The Kodiaks season eventually culminated with a south division title. Sam Jardine played a pivotal role in this series, which was no different from the rest of the year. The 6-0, 185-lb. native of Lacombe Alberta really seemed to shine playing top minutes and all situational play for the Kodiaks. He seems to have good patience with the puck and his head stays up constantly looking for a stretch pass up the ice for a good transition. He makes quick plays that out of his own end, but also has the ability to jump up into the rush very well. Offensively, he has a good shot and has some solid hands to step around opposing defensemen. Defensively, his game improved a lot throughout the season. You could see as the season progressed, he would give good support for his defensive partner. He also worked well down low with his support and clearing out the front of the net.”