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The Scouting Report: The final four picks

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks
Brandon Whitney was rated Central Scouting's No. 2 North American goalie for the 2012 NHL Draft (Photo by Getty Images).

The Blackhawks made eight selections in the 2012 NHL Draft last weekend, adding four forwards, two defensemen and two goaltenders to a farm system already considered one of the league's deepest. But how are the newest Blackhawks viewed around the league and by the scouting community? took a look at what the draft experts had to say about the Blackhawks' selections, and will bring you their reports this week. In this final part of the series, we break down the rest of the Blackhawks' 2012 draft picks.


LW Garret Ross, Saginaw (OHL) "While it would be tough for him to duplicate [Andrew] Shaw's quick ascension up the organization's depth chart, Ross plays a similar style of game. Known more for his pugilistic efforts early in his OHL career in Saginaw, the Michigan-native plays a mean and fearless game despite his relatively small stature. Though not the biggest player on the ice, Ross does not back down from working in the dirty areas and dropping his gloves.

"In 2011-12, Ross supplemented that rough-and-tumble style with 25 goals and 54 points in 60 regular season games. He added another six goals, ranking second on the team, in 12 playoff games as he took advantage of opportunities in the top six. For his efforts, he was voted the OHL's most underrated player by the league's coaches as well as Saginaw's most improved player."

Travis Brown, Moose Jaw (WHL) "With a decent frame at 6'1 and a willingness to play physically, Brown has the potential to develop into a reliable defender at the pro level. His upside lies largely in the offensive side after he showed improvements as a puck-mover and in his heavy shot from the blue line. Like many of the defensive prospects in the 'Hawks pipeline, he also has good mobility."

Red Line Report: "Young defenseman stepped into the breach when Morgan Rielly went down with a long-term injury, and logged major minutes. Plays with his head on a swivel in his own zone, knowing where his outlets are for a breakout pass. Uses his defense partner well and understands when he can afford to take a risk and play it safe. Maintains strong defensive zone positioning. Footwork improved as the season progressed - slender frame and lacks leg strength for now, but will be a good skater. Offensively, keeps it simple, throwing everything he can towards the net. Needs to use size more engaging along the boards. One-on-one shadowing abilities are good and he closes the gap quickly, playing the body. Tied for team lead with +19 rating, highlighting how effective he can be in own end. Student of the game, always thinking about ways to improve."


Vince Hinostroza, Waterloo (USHL) "Hinostroza is an intelligent and high-energy forward. Despite his small stature, he is persistent in finishing his checks and sticking his nose into the corners. Offensively, he is a skilled distributor with vision and soft hands. His hockey sense is another plus that helps him make an impact at both ends of the ice. "The 5'9 frame and slim build will always be working against him, but he will have another year in the USHL to add strength before making the jump to the college level with Notre Dame. Hinostroza will be expected to be a main contributor in his third USHL season with Waterloo, the same team that holds Chris Calnan's rights."

Brandon Whitney, Victoriaville (QMJHL) "His gigantic frame covers a lot of net but he is also very mobile for a goalie his size. He has quick reflexes, speed post-to-post, and the ability to get on top of his crease to challenge shooters. Although he has struggled at times with the mental game and consistency, Whitney made improvements in that area and will be relied upon next season to be a steady and reliable presence in the crease for Victoriaville. Continuing to refine his technique and filling out his huge frame is the next step as he assumes the starting duties next season for the Tigres."

Red Line Report: "Gigantic young netminder won rave reviews during the first half, and earned nearly equal time with star veteran David Hoznik... The gangly octopus has exceptionally long limbs and takes up a lot of space in his basic stance. When he's on, he exudes confidence and poise, playing a calm game even when under heavy duress. Has a great demeanor for a goalie and gives teammates confidence. Has a sharp glove. Angles shots off to corners well with the blocker and pads. Follows puck through traffic well. Tall enough to cover top corners when down on his knees, and his long legs stretch post-to-post in the butterfly, making him tough to beat down low. His puckhandling around the crease is an adventure."

Matt Tomkins, Sherwood Park (AJHL) "The steady presence that Tomkins supplied in the second half of the season helped his draft stock but it was his participation in Hockey Canada's prestigious Program of Excellence goaltending camp earlier this summer that put him on a lot of NHL radars.

"He has the size that teams covet at the goaltending position and uses sound positioning and instincts to stop shots. Also considered an exceedingly competitive goaltender, Tomkins is the type of battler that can make the tough second and third saves necessary of pro-caliber goalie prospects."

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