Blackhawks assign McNeill to Rockford
McNeill, 19, was the Blackhawks first selection (18th overall) in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft, and signed a three-year contract with Chicago on Jan. 2, 2012. He ranked second on the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders with 40 assists and third with 71 points (31G, 40A) in 67 regular-season games this season, and was honored at year’s end with the club’s Most Valuable Player award. The Edmonton, Alberta, native shared third in the WHL with a team-high six shorthanded goals, tied for third in the league with four shootout markers and registered 17 multi-point outings, which included notching a career-high five points twice.
Over parts of four seasons (2008-12) with Prince Albert, McNeill recorded 176 points (72G, 104A) in 209 regular-season contests, and five points (2G, 3A) in six 2011 WHL postseason tilts after helping lead the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. He ranked fourth at the 2011 U-18 World Championships with six assists while competing for Team Canada and won a gold medal at the 2008 World Ball Hockey Championships in Slovakia, being named to the tournament All-Star team in the process.