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Knott, Hillman Join Stingrays Roster
South Carolina Welcomes Pair of Former Blackhawks Draft Selections

The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, announced two additions to the team’s roster Tuesday. Forward Graham Knott and defenseman Blake Hillman have agreed to terms for the 2020-21 season.

The two skaters will be reunited with the Rays, having played together previously in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs during the 2018-19 season.

Knott, 24, is in his fourth professional season after spending time in both the AHL and ECHL during his first three campaigns. Most recently, the Etobicoke, Ontario native concluded his 2019-20 year in the Pittsburgh Penguins system, appearing in 11 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and 18 contests with the Wheeling Nailers, where he scored 14 points on six goals and eight assists.

Selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (54th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, Knott appeared in 127 games with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in his first two seasons where he scored 22 points on eight goals and 14 assists. He began last season with the ECHL’s Indy Fuel and tallied nine points (5g, 4a) in 13 games.

The attacker played most of his junior hockey with the Niagara Ice Dogs in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) before being traded to the Windsor Spitfires during his final year in 2016-17 where he helped the club capture a Memorial Cup. During his four-year OHL career, Knott compiled 173 points (66 goals, 107 assists) in 292 games and represented Canada in the U18 World Championships and World Under 17 Hockey Challenge.

Hillman, 24, begins his third pro year and is also coming off a season with time in both the AHL and ECHL with Grand Rapids, Stockton and Toledo. The Elk River, Minn. native suited up for five games with the Griffins, seven with the Heat and 35 for the Walleye. While in Toledo, Hillman scored 13 points (1g, 12a).

Also previously with Chicago, Hillman was selected in the sixth round (173rd overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. The defender made his professional debut by skating in four NHL games for the Blackhawks at the end of the 2017-18 season and scored his first pro goal on April 4, 2018 at St. Louis.

Hillman spent the 2018-19 season with Rockford in the AHL, appearing in 54 games with four points (1G, 3A) and 20 penalty minutes for the IceHogs.

Prior to turning pro, Hillman played in the NCAA for three seasons at the University of Denver, skating in 123 games while scoring 31 points on seven goals and 24 assists to go along with a +24 rating. He helped lead the Pioneers to the 2017 National Championship alongside current Stingrays defenseman Tariq Hammond. As a freshman in 2016, Hillman was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA West Regional when he picked up four points (2g, 2a) in two games that included a game-winning goal over Ferris State.

South Carolina returns to action on Friday night when they begin a 3-game series in Wheeling against the Nailers at 7:10 p.m.


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Photo Credts: KDP Studio, Todd Reicher

 
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