06/16/2009 12:41 PM - chicagoblackhawks.com is releasing the winners of the inaugural Blackhawks Fans Choice Awards. At least one new winner will be announced each day this week.
UNSUNG HERO: Dave Bolland
It’s possible that no one took a bigger step up between this season and last than Bolland. However, because he centered the line with Andrew Ladd and leading point-getter Martin Havlat, perhaps no one on the Hawks was shortchanged more in terms of individual recognition.
Bolland, who had 40 National Hockey League games to his credit coming into the season, played 81 games for the Blackhawks in 2008-09, scoring 19 goals and adding 28 assists. His +19 plus/minus rating was the third-best among Blackhawks forwards, behind only his two linemates. Bolland blossomed into one of Chicago’s best two-way forwards over the course of the season, spending time on both the power play and penalty kill units. With Bolland and Jonathan Toews leading the way, the Hawks will have great strength up the middle for a long time.
Dave Bolland (47%)
Adam Burish (30%)
Ben Eager (12%)
Colin Fraser (4%)
Matt Walker (9%)
TOP PROSPECT: Kyle Beach
The Blackhawks’ first-round draft pick (11th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft nearly made the Hawks coming out of training camp this season. If his season in the Western Hockey League and his new three-year NHL deal are any indication, he may just be ready to take the leap to the professional ranks next year. Beach scored 63 points (24g-39a) in 54 games between Everett and Lethbridge in 2008-09, in addition to drawing 177 penalty minutes. If he can make the team out of camp next season, Beach’s size, strength and intensity will be a great asset to the Blackhawks -- and a pain for their opponents.