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Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Hawks prospect watch: College review

By Scott Powers

Here's a final review of the performances of the Chicago Blackhawks' 14 college prospects this season:

Kevin Hayes, forward, Boston College, senior, drafted 1st round in 2010

Hayes took his game to another level during his senior season. After compiling 67 points through his first three seasons, he put up 65 points, including 27 goals and 38 assists, in 40 games this season. He was second in the country in points and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist. The Blackhawks expected to sign him, but that doesn't seem certain any longer. Hayes' agent said recently no decision had been made on whether to sign.

"He's made strides," Blackhawks assistant general Norm MacIver said in late March. "We're still looking for him to improve as he moves forward. We like his ability with the puck. He sees the ice and makes plays. He has size. One thing he's doing better is protect the puck. He just needs the consistency of being a good player and being a good player year in and year out."

Stephen Johns, defenseman, Notre Dame, senior, drafted 2nd round in 2010

At 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, Johns' size and strength caught everyone's attention in college. He helped the Irish to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament. He had eight goals, 12 assists, 63 blocks and a plus-five rating in 40 games this season. The Blackhawks signed him to a two-year deal after his college season ended. He played with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL until their season ended.

"The thing with Stephen when you watch him play at the college level, it's his size," Maciver said. "He's just so much of a bigger and stronger player at that level. He has a huge advantage in terms of strength. What he needs to continue to work on his focusing on playing with the puck and simplifying his game defensively, learning positioning more. He can get away with certain things at the college level because of his physicality and size."

Justin Holl, defenseman, Minnesota, senior, drafted 2nd round in 2010

Holl helped Minnesota to a runner-up finish in the Frozen Four. He finished the season with one goal, 12 assists, a plus-10 rating and 63 blocks in 39 games. The Blackhawks were hoping for more development in Holl through his collegiate career. Maciver was unsure in March whether the organization would sign Holl. He's been eligible to sign since his season ended in April.

Kirill Gotovets, defenseman, Cornell, senior, acquired via trade in 2013

Gotovets had one goal, three assists, 56 blocks and a plus-five rating in 32 games this past season. The Blackhawks do not intend to sign him.

Nick Mattson, defenseman, North Dakota, junior, drafted 6th round in 2010

Mattson excelled in the classroom and on the ice for North Dakota this season. He was given the NCAA's Elite 89 award for having the highest cumulative grade-point average in the men's hockey tournament. He had a 3.966 GPA. On the ice, he had four goals, 19 assists and a plus-8 rating in 40 games this season.

"I thought he had a really good year," Maciver said. "Nick's game has come along."

Michael Paliotta, defenseman, Vermont, junior, drafted 3rd round in 2011

Paliotta had five goals and 22 assists in 38 games as a junior. He helped Vermont to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

"The reports are Michael has been really good," Maciver said. "He's had a solid season."

Sam Jardine, defenseman, Ohio State, sophomore, drafted 6th round in 2011

Jardine had one goal, 12 assists, 35 blocks and a plus-seven rating in 36 games as a sophomore. The Blackhawks like his progression.

"Sam's had a solid year coming off last year," Maciver said. "He had a solid year for Ohio State."

Chris Calnan, forward, Boston College, freshman, drafted 3rd round in 2012

Calnan held his own on one of the nation's top teams. He had four goals and nine assists in 37 games. He should move up the ladder next season with Boston College losing a number of its top forwards.

"Chris is a very talented player," Maciver said. "They had a lot of good players. He obviously played down the lineup because they had really good players. It was sort of a learning year for Chris."

Vince Hinostroza, forward, Notre Dame, freshman, drafted 6th round in 2012

Hinostroza had a strong freshman season. He had eight goals, 24 assists and a plus-six rating in 34 games. He was third on the Irish in points. He also played for Team USA in the World Junior Championship.

"Earlier in the year, he was playing down the lines," Maciver said. "As the year went on, he continued to move himself up the lines. His minutes improved and just his overall confidence. He's a very confident kid. He wants the puck. He wants to make plays."

Matt Tomkins, goaltender, Ohio State, freshman, drafted 7th round in 2012

Tomkins had an up-and-down first season due to an injury and being replaced as the team's starting goaltender. He went 6-7-2 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 17 games this season.

Tyler Motte, forward, Michigan, freshman, drafted 4th round in 2013

Motte got off to a hot start during his freshman season and slowed down as the season progressed. He had five goals and two assists in the first 11 games. He finished with nine goals and nine assists in 34 games. He was Team USA's final cut for the World Junior Championship.

"I think for me he reminds me a little bit of Ben Smith," Maciver said. "They play the same kind of game. He's very good in the corners and goes to the front of the net. He's just a constant worker. You get the same thing game in, game out, shift in, shift out."

John Hayden, forward, Yale, freshman, drafted 3rd round in 2013

Hayden closed his freshman season with an offensive burst. He had three goals and five assists over his last nine games. He finished the season with six goals, 10 assists and a minus-three rating in 33 games.

Luke Johnson, forward, North Dakota, freshman, drafted 5th round in 2013

Johnson was another of the Blackhawks' prospects who had a positive freshman year. He had eight goals, 13 assists and a plus-9 rating in 42 games this season.

"He's a really competitive player," Maciver said. "He plays a hard game. He finishes his checks. He's one of those guys opposing players know you're going to play him that night. He's around the puck. He's had a real nice freshman year."

Anthony Louis, forward, Miami Ohio, freshman, drafted 6th round in 2013

Louis had one of the most productive seasons among the Blackhawks' prospects as a freshman. He had 12 goals, 13 assists and a minus-four rating in 36 games.