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Nick Schmaltz, Fredrik Olofsson lead Blackhawks' top remaining unsigned prospects

Now that players like Tyler Motte and Gustav Forsling are in the fold, here's who the Blackhawks haven't signed yet.

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The 2016 NHL Draft is right around the corner, which will give the Blackhawks a chance to add to their stockpile of talented prospects. Even without high draft picks -- Chicago presently doesn't have a pick until the third round this year -- the team has managed to support a solid development system.

Around the world, players whose rights are held by the Blackhawks have spent the past few years developing and trying to prove they're ready for the NHL. Many top players don't immediately sign entry-level contracts after being drafted, instead playing in a foreign league, the NCAA or a Canadian major junior league. It can be a good way for teenagers to develop until they're ready for the AHL or NHL.

This year, top prospects like Gustav Forsling and Tyler Motte inked contracts with the Blackhawks, but Chicago's still got a number of interested players not yet signed. That includes top prospect Nick Schmaltz, the gifted former first-round pick, as well as some draft picks from later rounds who have proven to be potentially valuable finds.

Here's our list of the six top unsigned prospects under the Blackhawks' control, along with a complete list of every other prospect who remains without an entry-level contract.

Nick Schmaltz, C

Acquired: 2014 1st-round pick
2015-16 Team
: North Dakota (NCAA)
: 46 points (11G/35A) in 37 GP*

What else is there really to say about Schmaltz at this point? He's the team's consensus No. 1 prospect after a monster year between North Dakota and Team USA. It's generally expected that he'll fill a top-six forward role soon after his arrival in the NHL, making the only real question when that'll happen. It sounds increasingly like Schmaltz will be returning to Grand Forks for his junior season, and while that's disappointing for Chicago because he looks ready for the pros, pushing back his ELC one more year might not be the worst thing given how the team's books are structured. It doesn't sound like there's much risk he'll burn the team at this point, so whether it's this year or next year, Schmaltz's addition will be significant.

Frederik Olofsson, LW

Acquired: 2014 4th-round pick
2015-16 Team
: Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
: 17 points (8G/9A) in 34 GP

Olofsson missed out on a chance to impress when he was one of Sweden's final cuts for the 2016 WJC, but he still had a nice debut year at Nebraska-Omaha. The combination of size, skating ability and finishing potential could make him a very good third-line NHL forward in time. Assistant GM Norm Maciver recently had some positive words for Olofsson's freshman season at Nebraska-Omaha in an interview with The Athletic, comparing his game favorably to Joakim Nordstrom. While that's probably not the most exciting possibility, Olofsson might be able to crack his offensive ceiling a bit higher than that. If he can be as solid defensively as Nordstrom is, that would make for a pretty good player.

John Hayden, C

Acquired: 2013 3rd-round pick
2015-16 Team
: Yale (NCAA)
: 23 points (16G, 7A) in 32 GP*

We talk a lot about how the Blackhawks' aren't a very big team, and here's Hayden, a 6'3, 223-pound beast of a forward who would immediately add a dose of size. The problem with Hayden is that he's opted to return to Yale for his senior season, and that means he'll be eligible to become a free agent next year. The Blackhawks will still have a chance to convince him to sign next spring, and all indications are that they're not worried, but every team says that in this situation. However, unlike with Kevin Hayes, Chicago wouldn't receive any compensation because Hayden wasn't a first-round pick. So Chicago would surely like to add Hayden, who could be a big, cheap bottom-six forward in a year or two, but there's a chance he bolts.

Luc Snuggerud, D

Acquired: 2014 5th-round pick
2015-16 Team
: Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
: 18 points (4G/14A) in 35 GP

An offensive defenseman who thrives in space thanks to his above-average skating ability, Snuggerud breaks the mold for the Blackhawks a bit. He's still a work-in-progress defensively and would need to fill out physically to take on the usual pounding that comes with playing in the NHL, but he still managed to put up 18 points in 35 games with Nebraska-Omaha as a sophomore, which was tops among d-men and tied for fifth overall on the team. Even if it's not a classic fit for this franchise, there's a foundation of skills to build on here that could make for a very good offensive defenseman in the NHL.

Graham Knott, LW

Acquired: 2015 2nd-round pick
2015-16 Team
: Niagara (OHL)
: 46 points (14G/32A) in 83 GP*

The Blackhawks' second-round pick in 2015 didn't seem to blow anyone away with his performance in the OHL, but he remains one of the better prospects still outside the organization. There's a fair question as to how high his upside is, however, and he didn't do much to dispel those questions in his first year after being drafted. Knott is still big and can skate his way into tough areas, but he seems to be settling in as a mid-tier prospect with limited potential despite his relatively lofty draft status.

Radovan Bondra, RW

Acquired: 2015 5th-round pick
2015-16 Team
: Vancouver (WHL)
: 31 points (16G/15A) in 63 GP*

More size! It seems clear that adding some bigger forwards to the prospect pool was a priority for Chicago in some recent drafts. Like Knott, Hayden and Olofsson, Bondra (listed 6'5, 218 pounds) is a recent draft pick who would have little trouble measuring up against NHLers. He doesn't play an especially physical game despite his size, but showed some scoring touch in the WHL and has the tools to be a good player at the next level. When you're picking in the fifth round, that's a pretty good outcome, even if Bondra is still some good fortune and a couple years away from being NHL ready.

And here's everyone else.


Player Acquired
2015-16 team
Chris Calnan, RW
2012 3rd-round pick
Boston College
11 points (3G/8A) in 29 GP*
Liam Coughlin, C
2015 trade (Nilsson)
12 points (3G/9A) in 35 GP
Dennis Gilbert, D
2015 3rd-round pick
Notre Dame
10 points (2G/8A) in 37 GP*
Matheson Iacopelli, RW
2014 3rd-round pick
Western Michigan
7 points (1G/6A) in 27 GP
Anthony Louis, C
2013 6th-round pick
Miami (Ohio)
26 points (11G/15A) in 36 GP
Jack Ramsey, RW
2014 7th-round pick
Minnesota 5 points (0G/5A) in 31 GP
Dylan Sikura, C
2014 6th-round pick
Northeastern 28 points (10G/18A) in 39 GP*
Beau Starrett, C
2014 3rd-round pick
Cornell 1 point (1G/0A) in 15 GP
Matt Tomkins, G
2012 7th-round pick
Ohio State
3.87 GAA, .888 SV% in 14 GP


Player Acquired
2015-16 team
John Dahlstrom, LW
2015 7th-round pick
Frolunda U20** (ELIT)
40 points (25G/15A) in 42 GP*
Robin Press, D
2013 7th-round pick
Djurgardens (SHL)
3 points (1G/2A) in 58 GP*
Andreas Soderberg, D
2014 5th-round pick
HC Vita Hasten** (SWE-2)
1 point (0G/1A) in 45 GP
Joni Tuulola, D
2015 6th-round pick
HPK (Liiga)
14 points (2G/12A) in 53 GP
Ivan Nalimov, G
2014 6th-round pick
Admiral Vladivostok (KHL)
2.60 GAA, .908 SV% in 39 GP


Player Acquired
2015-16 team
Jake Massie, D
2015 trade (Versteeg)
Omaha (USHL)
10 points (4G/6A) in 44 GP
Roy Radke, RW
2015 6th-round pick
Barrie (OHL)
39 points (19G/20A) in 81 GP*
Ryan Shea, D
2015 4th-round pick
Youngstown (USHL)
7 points (2G/5A) in 28 GP

*includes NCAA Tournament/postseason stats
**primary team for players who appeared with multiple teams