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Blackhawks sign Beach, last year's top draft pick
Daily Herald Staff Report

Chicago Blackhawks practice at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville with player Kyle Beach.


Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/20/2009 2:50 PM

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Left wing Kyle Beach, the Chicago Blackhawks' first choice (11th overall) in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft, has signed a three-year deal with the team.

Beach, 19, split this past season between the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips and Lethbridge Hurricanes, recording 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists) in 54 regular-season games during his major junior campaign. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native ranked fourth in the WHL during the regular season with 165 penalty minutes, while his 39 assists and 63 points finished second on Lethbridge.

Beach also made his professional debut this season with the AHL's Rockford Ice Hogs after singing an amateur tryout contact with the Blackhawks affiliate on April 9. He posted 15 penalty minutes in two regular-season matchups while also appearing in one postseason contest.

Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon took a long look at Beach at training camp last year and said he might have made the Hawks' roster if not for his high salary cap hit. Beach also needed to improve his skating, so the Hawks felt another year in juniors was best for him.

At that time, the Hawks saw Beach as a guy who might someday be the perfect compliment on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Not only could his physical skills help protect them, but he has the ability to play with them.

"He might be a better pro," Tallon said last January. "He can be an aggravating power forward."