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Chicago Blackhawks sign Stephen Johns

Notre Dame senior defenseman Stephen Johns inked a two-year entry level contract.

Matt Dewkett (mrd-photos.com)

With Notre Dame eliminated in the West Regional semifinal, its large group of seniors is slowly making its decision on its future in hockey. Stephen Johns, a 2010 second round pick of the Blackhawks, signed a two-year deal with Chicago today.

Johns came in at 37 in our top 100 prospects, as the big, physical defenseman's game could translate to the next level:

Johns is a defensive defenseman that is an intimidating physical force and punishing hitter. His decision-making sometimes gets him into trouble, but he has the potential to be a reliable second or third pairing defender at the pro level known for crunching opponents with big hits.

His defensive prowess was on display in the Hockey East quarterfinals, when he put in a strong performance and Johnny Gaudreau and the best line in college hockey, as an upset-minded Notre Dame eliminated the top-seeded Boston College team.

While Johns is not known for his offensive game, he does a steady job from the point getting his shot through, and his hockey IQ when making offensive decisions informs his positioning, and allows him to defend transition chances. He also has pretty good hands for a bigger player, and can be effective down low when using his size.