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Blackhawks get Beach, shore up 'D'

by Dan Rosen

OTTAWA – Chicago GM Dale Tallon knew he had to find some more defensive prospects in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but when the power forward the Chicago Blackhawks targeted fell to them at No. 11, he just couldn’t resist the temptation.

Tallon feels that Everett’s Kyle Beach, the seventh-rated North American skater by NHL’s Central Scouting, fills a position that the Blackhawks have been missing in years past.

“He’s big, strong, powerful and a little volatile,” Tallon told “He can play left wing with (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrick) Kane and protect them as well. We are excited about it. We were happy to get him at 11.”

Tallon said he would have traded down to secure more draft picks to use on defensive prospects if Beach wasn’t still on the board at No. 11.

“We had a couple players targeted in the top 11 and if they were there we were going to keep the pick and if they weren’t we were going to move back and create some other picks,” Tallon said. “We’re happy with Beach.”

The Blackhawks, who had six picks Saturday, used five of them on defensemen because Tallon feels there is a shortage of rearguard prospects in the team’s system.

“We’re strongest up front now with size and strength,” Tallon said. “The back end we have good players up top with the big club with (Cam) Barker, (Duncan) Keith, (Brent) Seabrook, (James) Wisniewski and (Dustin) Byfuglien because we can use him at any position; forward or D. We have some good college defenseman, but this draft we were looking to replenish our defensive corps.”

Here is a look at Chicago’s 2008 NHL Entry Draft class:

No. 11 Kyle Beach, LW, Everett (WHL) - The Silvertips winger brought a shaky reputation to the draft because of some of his antics, but his perceived volatility is exactly what the Blackhawks sought.

Beach, who is 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, finished second in goals (27) and third in points (60) for the Silvertips this past season. He was the only player in the WHL to average a point-per-game, while also averaging more than three penalty minutes per game.

Beach was the WHL’s Rookie of the Year for 2006-07 after scoring 29 goals and piling up 61 points. He has 121 points and 418 penalty minutes in 125 WHL games.

No. 68 Shawn Lalonde, D, Belleville (OHL) - Lalonde, 18, is a 6-1, 175-pound defenseman who was ranked No. 32 among North American skaters by Central Scouting. He had 31 points in 66 OHL games this past season after registering 26 in 58 games as a rookie.

No. 132 Teigan Zahn, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
- Zahn, 18, is a powerful, 6-1 defenseman who weighs in at 217 pounds. In 69 games as a WHL rookie this past season he had 19 points and 104 penalty minutes.

No. 162 Jonathan Carlsson, D, Brynas (Sweden) -The Swedish defenseman, who will turn 20 in August, is a 6-foot, stay-at-home defenseman.

No. 169 Ben Smith, RW, Boston University (Hockey East)
- A 5-11, 195-pound winger born in Avon, CT, Smith had 50 points in 50 games for the Eagles this past season.

No. 179 Braden Birch, D, Oakville (OPJHL) - Birch had five points in 13 games for the Blades and another two assists in 19 playoff games in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League.

No. 192 Joe Gleason, D, Edina (USHS) - A University of North Dakota recruit, Gleason led Edina’s defensemen in scoring with 42 points in 31 games this past season.

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