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UVM's Paliotta signs with Blackhawks

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Matt Dewkett

University of Vermont senior defenseman Michael Paliotta has signed an NHL entry level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the organization that drafted him in the third round of the 2011 draft.

A big sturdy right defenseman, Paliotta was named to the All-Hockey East Second Team and was voted the Best Defensive Defenseman in the league. The Westport, Conn. native led the Catamounts in scoring this season with nine goals and 27 assists. He accumulated 19 goals and 64 assists over his four-year career in Burlington.

Paliotta's best asset is his vision and ability to start the breakout, but he's also very rugged in his own zone and has good defensive zone coverage. He's not the fastest or smoothest skater, but he has a good stick and wins a lot of one-on-one battles. He also does a very good job of getting shots on net through traffic from the point.

Paliotta will report to Chicago's top affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League (AHL).

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.