Winning a Hobey Baker Memorial Award and signing a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks in the same day: it was a pretty nice 24-hour period for Drew LeBlanc.
“It was a very exciting day for me and my family, and also my teammates,” said LeBlanc, who will be watching his new team host the Dallas Stars tonight at the United Center. “We shared so many memories together. It was a lot of fun and something I’ll never forget.”
LeBlanc, whose St. Cloud State Huskies made their first Frozen Four appearance in program history this season, has had some good times lately. He hopes to continue them with the Blackhawks. LeBlanc signed a one-year deal with Chicago on Friday, the same day he won the Hobey Baker. The 23-year-old, who had 50 points in 42 games with St. Cloud this season, hopes to learn a few things with the Blackhawks.
“It’s a professional organization from the top down. They have a good reputation for developing young players, and I hope to be one of those guys,” LeBlanc told the media prior to tonight’s game. “There’s nothing that hasn’t impressed me yet.”
LeBlanc hopes to get into the Blackhawks lineup in the few regular-season opportunities remaining. He skated this morning – he hasn’t practiced with the team yet -- and coach Joel Quenneville liked what he saw.
“He’s got some skill, a good set of hands, he sees plays and makes plays,” he said. “Watching him skate today, you can see on the offensive side of things he can be pretty handy, pretty nifty. We’ll get him some practice time and get him acclimated to our team game. There are no promises when he’ll play, but we’ll see if he gets a chance to get in there.”
LeBlanc will see what happens. The Blackhawks have seen some of their young guys, including Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Nick Leddy take on big responsibilities in recent seasons. LeBlanc hopes he’s next.
“Chicago has a great reputation of developing guys. Hopefully they can help me out a little bit,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me and great experience to learn, to have fun and relax a little bit.”