The Chicago Blackhawks have re-signed restricted free agent Mark McNeill to a one-year contract. The contract is two-way and will pay McNeill $600,000 at the NHL level and $200,000 at the AHL level, per General Fanager.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 15, 2016
The 23-year-old center was taken with the 18th overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Blackhawks. McNeill has spent the last three seasons playing for the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, most recently scoring 25 goals and 48 points in 64 games last season to go along with 33 penalty minutes. In the 2016 playoffs, McNeill played in three games, tallying one goal and two points for his team.
While McNeill hasn’t gotten an opportunity to play with the Blackhawks yet, his size, and well-rounded, responsible play could result in an eventual call-up to play a support role. The Blackhawks are in need of good, cheap depth players to compliment their main cast of highly paid stars; McNeill could fit the bill this year if he can impress during the preseason. Scoring over 20 goals in back-to-back seasons in the AHL should help his case as well.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, McNeill has represented his country twice at the IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in 2011 and 2013, finishing in fourth place in both years.