The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Blake Hillman to a two-year entry-level contract, and will have him join the team right away. That will end up using the first year of the deal, meaning that Hillman will become a restricted free agent after the 2018-19 season.
Hillman is just the latest player from the University of Denver to turn pro, after Henrik Borgstrom, Troy Terry and Dylan Gambrell all signed yesterday. The sixth-round pick by the Blackhawks has developed into a legitimate prospect, who will likely see some time on the ice in the last few games of the season.
The 22-year old Hillman could play a role for the Blackhawks next season, though with six NHL defensemen already under contract he’ll have to battle for playing time. Though he hasn’t shown a ton of offensive upside, Hillman is extremely effective in his own end and shuts down rushes quickly with an active stick. Whether he can continue to play at that level in the NHL is unclear, but he’ll get a chance to prove himself before long.