As the ECHL affiliates of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Indy Fuel will be receiving players from the Hawks' system as they sign pro deals. So, it's worth taking a peek at who the Blackhawks added this year. Of the nine picks, the top 5 come from U.S.-based junior teams, two are from Europe and two from the Canadian Junior A ranks. All but the two Europeans are committed to U.S. colleges.
A peek at Chicago's draft haul. These are longer-term prospects, as Major Junior players cannot play professionally until they turn 20 or until they sign and their junior seasons end. Players who go to college will have the NHL team hold their rights until 30 days after they leave school.
ESPN.com has a good look at the Blackhawks' draft haul, and the fact that they drafted so many college players allows them a long-term development timeline. Also, a look at the picks from Blackhawks.com.
Nick Schmaltz: The Hawks traded up to grab Schmaltz with the 20th pick. He played three seasons in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers, and had back-to-back 18-goal seasons. He has ties to Chicago, having played his midget hockey with the Chicago Mission before joining the Gamblers -- where he played with older brother Jordan (a Blues draft pick). Has a ton of high-end skill. He is committed to the University of North Dakota, and expects to play at least a couple of years in college hockey. Chicago Tribune
Matt Iacopelli: A big scorer with the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks this season. The Michigan native had 41 goals and 63 points in 58 games. He was picked in the third round with the 83rd pick, which the Hawks traded Brandon Bollig to obtain. Iacopelli is considered an "overager," as he is 20 years old and was selected in his third year of draft eligibility. He is headed to Western Michigan this fall. Muskegon Chronicle
Beau Starrett: A big body (6-4, 190), he played in the Tier III U.S. Prospects Hockey League this year. The Massachusetts native was picked 88th overall, in the third round. He had 47 points in 48 games this year. He is headed to Cornell to play college hockey.
Fredrik Olofsson: A 6-1, 185-pound forward who played this season for the USHL's Chicago Steel. A Colorado native, he becomes the fourth American in four rounds to be taken by the Blackhawks. He had six goals and 21 points in 52 USHL games with Green Bay and Chicago this year. He is a Colorado College commit, and is the brother of Wild prospect Gustav Olofsson.
Luc Snuggerud: Defenseman who played high school hockey in Minnesota this year, and also played seven USHL games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Omaha Lancers. He is expected to play in Omaha -- either in the USHL or collegiately for Nebraska-Omaha. He was picked in the fifth round, 141st overall.
Andreas Soderberg: Swedish defenseman with a lot of size -- 6-4, 200. Had nine points in 48 games last season. Taken in the fifth round, 148th overall.
Dylan Sikura: Another overager taken in his second year of eligibility (age 19), he had 64 points in 41 games for the Junior A OJHL Aurora Tigers this year. He is the one Canadian player drafted by the Hawks -- from Aurora, Ontario. Playing collegiately at Northeastern next season. Taken in the sixth round, 178th overall.
Ivan Nalimov: Russian goaltender and an overager (1994 birth year). Won a bronze medal with Russia at the World Junior Championships. Sixth round, 179th overall.
Jack Ramsey: Another American, hailing from Chanhassen, Minn. He had 25 points in 57 games with the Junior A Penticton Vees of the BCHL last season. Stands 6-2, 185 and will play college hockey at Minnesota. Ramsey is the son of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mike Ramsey. Taken in the seventh round, 208th overall.