Despite a brief glimmer of hope towards the end of last week, the NHL has gone back into the hopeless state during this lockout that we have all become too familiar with. Because of this, it’s back to the drawing board for some hockey entertainment while the bickering millionaires look like children.
For fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, looking to the college level might be a good start. With the NHL not on television, the NCAA may have found a window to gain some fans. They’ve already made a couple of national appearances, and could see more as the lockout wears on.
With the NCAA finding more publicity, Notre Dame is a program that will get top notch coverage, as they’re one of the better programs in the nation. They also are the current club for Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns.
There really isn’t a timetable yet as far as when we can expect to see Johns at the NHL level, but he has the makings of a very good blue liner for this club at some point in the future. In two years with the Irish, Johns has missed just one game, and made an appearance for the U.S. in World Juniors, where he performed very well.
Johns is a large, stay-at-home type that would be a welcome presence on the Chicago defense. He’s a hoss, standing 6’4″ and over 230 pounds. His physicality is his biggest asset and he uses that great size very effectively.
As far as his offense, he certainly won’t be Brent Seabrook. While Johns is a solid offensive defenseman, and has a very big shot, he won’t put up many points from the blue line. When he does reach the NHL level, though, he shouldn’t have a problem at least getting the puck to the net.
There are still some kinks to be worked out in his game, namely his defensive awareness. But Stephen Johns has the makings of a very capable defenseman, and could be a tough match for opposing forwards. As the lockout wears on, get a look at this kid to catch a preview of a future member of the Chicago Blackhawks.