The Chicago Blackhawks have signed another college prospect in Vermont defenseman Michael Paliotta, who agreed to a two-year deal, the team announced Thursday.
The deal comes on the heels of the signing of junior Colgate forward Kyle Baun, who also inked a two-year deal Thursday.
Paliotta was selected by Chicago in the third round of the 2011 NHL draft (70th overall). He led Vermont with 36 points (nine goals, 27 assists) in 41 games in his senior year. Those 36 points ranked him sixth in the NCAA among defensemen. A right handed defensemen with size (6-foot-3, 207 pounds), Paliotta's defensive game was considered his strong suit for a while, but he has developed his offensive game well. Many have compared him to another 'Hawks defensive prospect in Stephen Johns.
There were some whispers that Paliotta was unsure on signing with the 'Hawks, and may have had interest in waiting out the August 15 signing deadline for college students to become an unrestricted free agent and sign with the team of his choice, similar to the last summer's Kevin Hayes situation. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was able to avoid that situation, however, inking the defenseman to a two-year deal.
Paliotta will report to Chicago and burn the first year of his two-year deal like Baun.
Paliotta joins a long list of right handed defensemen in the Blackhawks prospect pool, along with Johns, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Ville Pokka. With the tight cap situation coming up next year, it might not be surprising to see two of those names on the NHL roster next season, but don't expect much more than that.