The Blackhawks’ penchant for drafting players high on skill and speed but low on size was epitomized in the organization’s selection of Anthony Louis in the sixth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. The 5’7, 151-pound native of Winfield, Ill., in Chicago’s western suburbs was just 18 years old when the Hawks made him the 181st pick in that draft. Four years later, Louis is under contract with Chicago and inching closer to a roster spot — but he’s also running out of time.
Birth date: Feb. 10, 1995
Acquired via: Sixth-round pick (No. 181 overall) in 2013
Most recent stop: Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL)
Size: 5’7, 151 pounds
Contract: Two years, $775,000 cap hit, plus bonuses
Louis’ size make him the smallest prospect in the Blackhawks’ organization but, as you’d probably expect, he boasts the skating ability and puck skills that can overcome those physical setbacks. After being drafted by Chicago in 2013, Louis spent the next four hockey seasons playing for the University of Miami (Ohio). His numbers were consistently above average, peaking with his senior season of 14 goals and 25 assists in 36 games played, although those numbers may not have been quite as high as you might hope for out of a four-year college hockey player.
Still, the Hawks were impressed enough by Louis to offer him a two-year entry-level contract, which he signed last March. He finished out the 2016-17 hockey season playing on an amateur tryout with the Rockford IceHogs, notching one goal and one assist in his 13 games in the AHL.
He was one of the veterans at last July’s prospect camp, and had enough noticeable moments to earn a mention when The Athletic’s Scott Powers offered his 20 thoughts at the end of the camp. Louis was also on the ice for a recent charity game that raised over $100,000 for Chicago Special Olympics.
What’s next in 2017-18?
Louis will likely be back in Rockford for his first full season as a professional with the IceHogs. Already 22 years old, time may not be on Louis’ side as much as it is for other Hawks prospects. He’ll need to make a strong impression at this year’s training camp or during Rockford’s season to gain a call-up to the Hawks.
Chicago has shown that it’s not afraid to put smaller players into its lineup. Patrick Kane is the shining example, but other players like Vinnie Hinostroza and Tyler Motte have been able to earn ice time with the Blackhawks despite their smaller statures. Around the league, examples like Johnny Gaudreau and Viktor Arvidsson show that it doesn’t take a 6’3, 200-pound frame to thrive at the NHL level. But Louis will need to show that his hands and feet are quick enough and skilled enough to warrant a call-up soon, before he gets passed on the organizational depth chart by the other forwards waiting behind him.