Blackhawks Draft 7 NCAA Players

One of NHL's top franchises leaned heavily on college players in 2014 Draft.
Nick Schmaltz, headed to North Dakota, was one of seven NCAA players drafted by Chicago.

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman, who has guided his team to two Stanley Cups in the last five years, had a simple answer when asked if he liked the fact that first-round pick Nick Schmaltz was headed to North Dakota.

Sortable: NCAA Players in the Draft | Friday Notebook

“It worked out pretty well for Jonathan Toews,” Bowman told Brad Schlossman.

Chicago went on to take six more future NCAA players among its nine picks in the draft. The seven college selections were more than double any team except St. Louis (4).

One of the NHL’s most successful franchises, Chicago has the luxury of not needing its draftees to contribute in the next year or two, and Bowman knows college hockey will allow them to develop over time.

“In general you have a little more time with those players,” said Bowman. “You have four or five years. It’s tougher when you have a two-year window to sign a guy. Sometimes they don’t define themselves by that second year and you have to make a decision, do you sign them or not. We like that element that because you have the player for four years – you don’t have to leave them there for four years, but you have a little bit more control over it.”

The contributions of college players – like Toews – have a lot to do with Chicago’s success to date. All three players who wear a letter for the Hawks played college hockey, with alternate captains Patrick Sharp (Vermont) and Duncan Keith (Michigan State) joining Toews, the captain.

“We like to think that we can develop players,” said senior director of amateur scouting Mark Kelley, “and we’re not in a hurry. In that sense, it makes sense to take players of that mold.”

Watch the video to hear from Bowman, a Notre Dame graduate, and Kelley, a Colby graduate:

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