"[The Blackhawks are] a really special team for sure," McNeil said. "I'm going to camp trying to make this team, but at the same time if it doesn't happen, I want to learn and take in as much as possible."
The 18-year-old formerly played for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound center had 32 goals and 49 assists for Prince Albert in 2010-11.
McNeil is well aware that there are several household names on the Hawks' roster, but two immediately came to mind.
McNeil, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, finished fourth at the 2011 U-18 World Championships with six assists as a member of Team Canada. He also earned a gold medal at the 2008 World Ball Hockey Championships in Slovakia.
With the 26th pick in the first round, the Hawks selected Phillip Danault, a winger from Victoriaville, Quebec. The Blackhawks acquired that pick from the Washington Capitals in exchange for veteran winger Troy Brouwer.
Danault spent last season with the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He tallied a career-high 44 assists, and notched 67 points for Victoriaville last year.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.