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By: Kahli Daehne
Rockford, Ill. – When the Chicago Blackhawks make their selections tonight in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, they are looking to improve the organization for the future from top to bottom. But the Blackhawks selections from a season ago showed some immediate returns to go with a long term investment.

Of the nine draft picks from the 2011 draft to suit up in the National Hockey League last season, two came in Chicago with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. Both rookies were the only players from their draft class to play in the NHL which weren’t taken in the first round.

In the final review before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft begins from Pittsburgh tonight, takes a look back at the previous two years of the Blackhawks draft picks and what they accomplished during the 2011-12 season.

2010 Blackhawks draft picks:
Kevin Hayes, Chicago’s first round pick (#24 overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, completed his sophomore season at Boston College (NCAA) in 2011-12. Hayes was a member of the Eagles (NCAA) National Championship squad and ranked fifth on the team with 21 assists. His 28 overall points (7g-21a) tied for eighth most on BC.

Ludvig Rensfeldt, chosen in the second round (#35th overall) in the 2010 draft by the Blackhawks, joined the Sarnia Sting (OHL) for the 2011-12 season.  Rensfeldt racked up a total of 43 points (22g-21a) making him the fifth highest scorer for Sarnia.  He helped the Sting make it to the playoffs but they were taken out in round one by the Saginaw Spirit.

Justin Holl, 20, finished his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota (NCAA) 2011-12.  The Minnesota native was picked in the second round of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Blackhawks (#54 overall).  The defensemen was ranked fourth on the Gophers in blocked shots (44) and third among defensemen with a +17 plus/minus rating.

Kent Simpson, goaltender for the Everett Silvertips (WHL), was the Blackhawks third round pick (#58th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  The 19-year-old posted a 2.11 goals against average and .938 save percent just in the month of March which helped him land the honor of being named Vaughn WHL Goaltender of the Month.  Simpson also suited up with the IceHogs, making his professional debut on April 14. On May 29, Simpson signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Stephen Johns, Chicago’s final selection in the second round in 2010 (#60th overall), completed his sophomore season with the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (NCAA), where he played in a total of 39 games (4g-6a) during the 2011-12 season.  The Pennsylvania native was an honorable mention selection to the CCHA all rookie team in 2010-11 and was the fourth-highest drafted Western Pennsylvanian ever taken in the NHL Draft.

Joakim Nordstrom, Chicago’s third round pick (#90th overall) in 2010, finished his third season with the AIK in the Swedish Elite League with a total of 47 games played and totaled three goals and three assists.  The 19-year-old Sweden native previously played during the 2010-11 season with Almtuna IS (Sweden Lower League) where he tallied an assist in 12 games.  Nordstrom signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on May 29. 

Rob Flick, followed a strong 2010-11 season where he racked up 57 points (27g-30a) with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (OHL) by skating with the IceHogs and Toledo Walleye (ECHL) during the 2011-12 season.  Flick skated in 62 games total with the Hogs and Walleye and tallied 11 goals and 12 assists with Rockford.  The 208-pound center was drafted by the Hawks 120th overall in the fourth round in 2010 and signed a three-year contract with Chicago on May 18th.

2011 Blackhawks draft picks:
Mark McNeill was the Blackhawks first round draft pick (#18 overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  The 19-year-old center completed his third season (2009-12) with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL).  While playing for the Raiders, he helped lead the team to the 2010-11 playoffs and has ranked second in the club in goals scored in each of the last two sesons.  McNeill joined the IceHogs for the final three weeks of the 2011-12 season and appeared in seven games.

Phillip Danault, chosen in the first round (#26th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by Chicago, finished the 2011-12 season with 71 points (18g-53a) while skating with the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL).  He also added three points (3a) in four playoff games.  Danault was assigned to the IceHogs on March 30, where he skated in seven games, notching two assists.

Adam Clendening, a defensemen for Boston University (NCAA), was Chicago’s second round (#36 overall) pick in the
2011 NHL Entry Draft.  Clendening played 38 games with Boston and was the fourth highest scorer, including tops among defensemen, during the 2011-12 season with 33 points (4g-29a). He signed a three-year contract with Chicago on June 1.

Brandon Saad, 19, played two seasons with Saginaw (OHL) before he was drafted by Chicago in the second round (#34th overall) in 2011.  While skating with Saginaw, Saad led them to the playoffs two years in a row and claimed the second highest point total during the 2011 season with 76 points (34g-42a).  Saad made his NHL debut with Chicago on Oct. 7, 2011 and is one of just nine players from the 2011 NHL draft to play in the NHL last season.

Westport, Conn. native, Michael Paliotta, was the Blackhawks third round pick (#70th overall) in the 2011 NHL draft.  Paliotta skated with the University of Vermont (NCAA) where he appeared in 30 games and racked up 10 points (4g-6a) during the 2011-12 season, two of which were on the power play. 

Klas Dahlbeck, Chicago’s third round draft pick (#79 overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft appeared in 108 games during his three seasons with Linkoping HC (SEL).  The defensemen finished his 2011-12 season with 2g-2a.  On May 29, Dahlbeck agreed to sign a three-year contract with the Blackhawks. 

Maxim Shalunov, Russian native, played with Belie Medvedi Chelyabinsk, a Russian Junior League (MHL), for the 2011-12 season after being drafted by Chicago in the fourth round (#109 overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  The 19 year-old, right-wing appeared in 48 games with Belie Medvedi Chelyabinsk where he scored 60 points (30g-30a).

Twenty-year-old, Andrew Shaw was Chicago’s fifth round draft pick (#139 overall) in the 2011 draft.  The 180-pound center joined the IceHogs and put up 23 points (12g-11a) during the 2011-12 season.  Shaw made his NHL debut with Chicago on January 12, 2012 and scored the game-winning goal in not one, but two games during the 2011-12 regular season.

Sam Jardine, 18, skated the last three seasons with the Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) from 2009-12.  Chicago selected him in the sixth round (#169 overall) of 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  The Lacombe, Alberta native racked up 30 points (11g-19a) for the Kodiaks during the 2011-12 season and two points (2a) during the playoffs.

New Lenox, Ill. native, Alex Broadhurst was the Blackhawks seventh round pick (#199 overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  Broadhurst laced up the skates for two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) and helped the Gamblers to the 2012 Clark Cup Championship, leading the club in points (18), goals (9), and plus/minus (+16).  Broadhurst also led Green Bay in the regular season with 73 points (26g-47a).

Johan Mattsson was Chicago’s seventh round pick (#211 overall) in the 2011 NHL draft.  The goaltender played for Sodertalje SK (SEL) during the 2009-11 seasons and Sudbury Wolves (OHL) for the 2011-12 season.  Mattsson finished his 2011-12 season 23-11-3 with a goals-against average of 3.16 and a save percentage of .910 with Sudbury, his first season in North America.

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