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NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Top 5 Chicago Blackhawks Rookies and Prospects

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Top 5 Chicago Blackhawks Rookies and Prospects

Top 5 Chicago Blackhawks Rookies and Prospects5
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the drafting of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks' draft history has been... interesting to say the least. There have been busts like Kyle Beach and Cam Barker, and successes like Nick Leddy, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw. The Blackhawks have made a few more draft picks that have played to be successful and look to be successful. And we're not just talking about draft picks, but acquisitions, too.

That's what this list is for. We'll be looking at the best rookies and prospects in the Blackhawks system. The players in question might not necessarily be a part of the Blackhawks' system, but look to be a good addition to the Blackhawks in the years to come. It should also be mention that these guys could turn out to be busts, but I don't think they will.

These guys will likely prove themselves on the big stage, and in some cases, already have. Remember, this list is about rookies and prospects, after all. Some of them have not yet made their regular season debut, others have, and others have been up and down in the Hawks' system. They've played for the big league team and they've played for the Rockford IceHogs. One or two of them may not have even played for the Hawks yet!

The rankings are based on their performance and their scouting reports. Either way, Hawks fans should be excited to see these guys in action at the United Center.

So here it is, the best rookies and prospects in the Blackhawks' system!

Paul Chancey is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for Follow him on Twitter at @ChanceyPaul and add him to your network at Google+.

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5. Antti Raanta

antti raanta
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

By now Antti Raanta's inclusion is little more than a formality. After taking over for the injured Corey Crawford, Raanta has shown himself to be one heck of a back-up, and an excellent fill-in for Crawford. Just recently, he was named the Rookie of the Month in December, just days after shutting out the Los Angeles Kings for his first NHL shutout and the Hawks' first shut-out of the season. His talents have paid off and he has a permanent roster spot now.

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4. Kevin Hayes

kevin hayes
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Hayes is the brother of Jimmy Hayes, who was sent to the Florida Panthers in the trade for Kris Versteeg. However, it looks as if this Hayes might be a permanent member of the team. Hayes is currently in his senior season with the Boston College Eagles, and is currently one of the team leaders in points with 28 points so far in the year. He also won an NCAA championship with the Eagles in 2012. His points production leads him towards being a potential offensive leader.

Note: Forgive the photo, it was the best one we could get of him.

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3. Ryan Hartman

ryan hartman
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Hartman was the Blackhawks' first-round draft pick in 2013. He is a true local product, from suburban West Dundee, Illinois. He has won an IIHF under-20 championship with Team USA and has already signed with the Blackhawks, but is still playing for the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. He currently has 13 goals and 13 assists, a total of 26 points with the Whalers. Hartman can play either wing or center and has the determination and drive to win that could make him a good fit with the big-league team.

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2. Brandon Pirri

brandon pirri
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

What, are you surprised? Brandon Pirri is a pretty popular subject on this website, and for good reason. He was the top scorer in the AHL last season and it looked as if he might finally break through to the NHL this year. He made the team in November and had a hot start, but several factors resulted in him being sent back down to Rockford. If there's anyone on this list who is more than ready for the NHL (besides Raanta), it's Pirri.

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1. Teuvo Teräväinen

Teuvo Teravainen
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

This guy may have been a steal. Teuvo Teravainen was drafted in 2012 and immediately pundits said that this guy might be one of the best of the draft. He has excellent puck handling, playmaking, passing, and shooting skills, and exceptional on-ice intelligence. He is versatile, able to play either center or winger. However, it might be a while before he makes it to the Madhouse on Madison, but it's possible he could make it some time in 2014. Until then, he's playing with his club team in Finland Jokerit, and might be a threat to Canada's chances in the World Juniors. Either way, this guy has got serious potential.