Undrafted free agent signing season is well underway, and with the season over for all but 16 NCAA DI men’s hockey teams, activity on that front will only heat up over the next few days.
One name that could go off the board in the coming news cycles is Hunter McKown, a 20-year-old center coming off his junior campaign with Colorado College. The Athletic’s Scott Powers reports Monday morning that the Chicago Blackhawks, among other teams, are in the mix to land his services.
McKown has been a bit of a late bloomer, at least offensively. An August 2002 birthday, McKown has been passed over in the past three drafts, but it’s not hard to see why he was skipped over in his first eligible year in 2020. He spent his draft year campaign with the U.S. National U18 Team but recorded just one goal and 10 assists in 54 games in 2019-20.
Since then, it’s been a different story. As Elite Prospects notes, the hallmark of McKown’s game has been his defensive awareness, but his shooting has shown significant development in the college ranks. McKown led Colorado College in both goals (21) and points (28) in 38 games played this season, continuing what’s been a positive linear progression offensively since joining the school.
His all-around game reached such a point last season that he was named to the 2022 World Juniors roster for Team USA, where he registered an assist in four games.
As Powers notes, Chicago is expected to face stiff competition for McKown’s services on the open market. It’s been known to NHL teams for “some time” that McKown planned to turn pro after this season, giving multiple teams time to make their interest known and prepare offers.
Guess the Blue Jackets beat the Blackhawks to the dotted line.