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Defenseman Dylan Olsen makes impression on Quenneville

Updated: January 23, 2012 3:28AM



Entering camp, there weren’t many spots open on the Blackhawks’ defense. But Dylan Olsen, the 28th overall pick in the 2009 draft, has made an impression despite missing time with a lower-body injury at the beginning of camp.

Of the nine defenseman left, Olsen is the only one without NHL experience. But he has survived all the initial cuts, essentially proving he’s the Hawks’ top blue-line prospect with Nick Leddy already part of the Hawks’ defensive corps.

‘‘It’s incredible to be one of the last rookies, one of the last young guys,’’ said Olsen, 20. ‘‘Chicago has all these veteran guys that have played years in the NHL, and I’m just a rookie coming in with not too much experience. I’ve gone out there and learned from the veterans. That’s what I need.’’

Olsen is different from Leddy, the 16th overall pick in 2009. Leddy (6-0, 191 pounds) can be compared to Duncan Keith, whereas Olsen (6-2, 214 pounds) is more like Brent Seabrook.

With a logjam on defense, Olsen is expected to be a leader for the Rockford IceHogs this season.

‘‘I like a lot of things in his game,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said of Olsen. ‘‘For a big man, he can really scramble well and can move quickly. Getting used to how he plays in coverage situations is something we’ll learn. But I’ve been very happy with his progress with what we saw last year and where he is this year. It’s been very noticeable.’’

Goalie battle

Quenneville should announce whether Corey Crawford, who sat out practice Friday, will play or whether the backup battle between Alexander Salak and Ray Emery will continue when he meets the media before the Hawks’ exhibition game Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

Emery has a 4.54 goals-against average and an .813 save percentage this preseason. Salak has fared better with a 1.94 GAA and a .924 save percentage.

‘‘We’ll visit [the backup goalie job] at the end of training camp,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It’s something we’ll definitely be looking at at the conclusion of the Washington game.’’



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