The Chicago Blackhawks have selected Prince Albert Raiders centre Mark McNeill with the 18th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
One of the top two-way centres in the draft, McNeill provides responsible defensive play, good puck protection and the ability to create turnovers in the neutral zone and productive talent in the offensive zone.
McNeill possesses an excellent blend of size, at six-foot-two, 205-pounds, and a skating stride that makes him hard to separate the puck from. Couple that with a strong understanding of his surroundings and commitment to hustle and grit leaves McNeill with the potential of a first-line centre.
The Prince Albert Raiders standout has had his offensive talent questioned, despite scoring 32 goals and 81 points in 70 games this season. That’s mainly because McNeill’s game lacks the flash of a top-line forward.
Still, McNeill is a four-tool player able to provide offensive, defense, a physical presence and leadership both on the ice and in the dressing room.