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31 in 31

Top prospects for Chicago Blackhawks

Jokiharju, Boqvist, Hillman competing for spots at defenseman

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Chicago Blackhawks, according to NHL.com.

 

[Blackhawks 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the numbers]

 

1. Henri Jokiharju, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 29 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Portland (WHL): 63 GP, 12-59-71

If the 19-year-old has a strong training camp, there's a good chance he will earn a spot on the roster. Jokiharju (6-foot, 180 pounds) is coming off a good season in the Western Hockey League, and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he has made strides in his defensive game, added some size, and "looks like an NHL-type body now."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: Jokiharju selected 29th overall by the Blackhawks

 

2. Dylan Sikura, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 178 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Chicago: 5 GP, 0-3-3; Northeastern University (NCAA): 35 GP, 22-32-54

Sikura completed his senior year at Northeastern as a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA Division I men's ice hockey player. The 23-year-old had two assists in his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets on March 29. Sikura (5-11, 158) can play center or wing, but considering the Blackhawks are set at center (Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger), his best opportunity will come on the wing.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

3. Adam Boqvist, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 8 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Brynas (SuperElite): 25 GP, 14-10-24; Brynas (SHL): 15 GP: 0-1-1

He has plenty of upside, especially on offense. The defensive part of his game will be a work in progress, but Boqvist (5-11, 168), who turns 18 on Aug. 15, won't be rushed to the NHL. He will play for London of the Ontario Hockey League this season. 

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: Quenneville on Blackhawks' selection of Boqvist

 

4. Victor Ejdsell, F

How acquired: Trade from Nashville Predators on Feb. 26, 2018

Last season: Chicago: 6 GP, 0-1-1; Rockford (AHL) 5 GP, 0-1-1; HV71 (SHL): 50 GP, 20-14-34

Ejdsell has the versatility to play either wing or center. He also has size (6-5, 214), something the Blackhawks lack, especially among forwards. The 23-year-old Swede is still adjusting to hockey in North America, where he's played 11 games, but Chicago liked what it saw at the end of last season and he should be part of their roster out of training camp.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

5. Blake Hillman, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 173 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Chicago: 4 GP, 1-0-1; University of Denver (NCAA): 41 GP, 3-9-12

Hillman scored his first NHL goal in his second game, a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Blues on April 4. The 22-year-old played three seasons for Denver, helping it win the 2017 NCAA Division I men's ice hockey championship. Hillman (6-1, 180) is one of several defensemen vying for one or two NHL roster spots.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

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