The Chicago Blackhawks may have missed out on Vinni Lettieri earlier today, but they are close to locking up another one of their own prospects. According to John Buccigross of ESPN Matt Iacopelli will sign with the ’Hawks now that Western Michigan has been eliminated from the NCAA tournament.
A former dominant scoring threat in the USHL, Iacopelli was drafted in the third round by the ’Hawks in 2014. This season saw him breakout at the college level with 20 goals and 36 points, leading the Broncos in scoring. Though he was only in his second year of college, Iacopelli will turn 23 in May and is likely closer to his peak than many other prospects.
With an NHL-ready shot, Iacopelli can score from just about anywhere in the offensive zone if given the time and space. It’s creating that space that will give him trouble at the next level, as though he’s big enough and has been billed as a power forward since his draft year, he sometimes lacks the ability to grind below the goal line and force opponents into mistakes.
He’s entering an organization who has continued to excel at turning NCAA prospects into high-caliber NHL players, as most recently evidenced with John Hayden’s transition to the league. If Iacopelli commits to learning their systems and playing whichever role they lay out for him, it’s not unthinkable that he’ll find success at the higher levels.