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Emma: Reserved van Riemsdyk Making His Name Known

By Chris Emma-

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Adjusting to life in the NHL was a difficult process for Trevor van Riemsdyk, the 23-year-old Blackhawks defenseman who became the lone rookie to break camp with a Chicago roster loaded with familiar faces.

On the flip side, the Blackhawks quickly grew comfortable with the newcomer. Or at least some of them did. Others mistakenly referred to him as "Travis," a nickname that has since stuck.

If that's the biggest adjustment for van Riemsdyk, consider it a successful start to his NHL career. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville does.

"For a young kid, the most unusual thing is how consistent he's been, which is a great compliment," Quenneville said of van Riemsdyk.

Settling in with the Blackhawks became a process. When Chicago's core won its first Stanley Cup in 2010, van Riemsdyk was in his first year of junior hockey with the New Hampshire Monarchs, still shy of his first season of college hockey.

Now, van Riemsdyk is lining up with the Blackhawks early in a season in which they eye another deep run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We have a ton of really good, really experienced players on this team, some world class talent," van Riemsdyk said. "You want to be a little quieter, kind of watch, slowly find your role and fall into it a little bit, show what you can do to help the team."

In a locker room filled with vibrant personalities, van Riemsdyk is often reserved. Part of that is just natural, but it's also his way of fitting in.

van Riemsdyk's new teammates have been welcoming, but his place as a rookie isn't to be the one stirring the pot.

"I'm just kind of soaking everything in still, just listening and taking it all in, rather than saying too much," van Riemsdyk said.

Andrew Shaw can relate. He is just four days older than van Riemsdyk, though he's been a Blackhawk since 2011. Now one of the team's many colorful characters, Shaw was once the quiet, calm newcomer.

"You're around a bunch of new guys, new organization," Shaw said. "It's tough to come in and be yourself right away. But they welcome you, they want you to be yourself."

van Riemsdyk is letting his play on the ice do most of the talking in his rookie season. His addition to Chicago's roster was a bit of a surprise out of training camp, but it was a spot well-earned.

With each practice and exhibition, van Riemsdyk caught the attention of Quenneville with his "consistency and predictability" that kept him around.

"He looked like nothing had changed, like every game, he was playing the same way," Quenneville said. "He didn't get rattled in any situation, always had that same poise and composure, which made the decision easy."

Added Shaw: "He played himself into a spot on this team."

This season is now 16 games in, and nothing has changed. van Riemsdyk has been the dependable defenseman who Quenneville desired, most recently with David Rundblad in the third grouping.

Defensemen won't often make the highlight reels, but consistency is what is counted on. Thus far, the most notble highlight for van Riemsdyk came against San Jose on Sunday, when he ripped a slapshot into the net for what appeared to be his first career goal. However, official review on Monday revealed the puck deflected off winger Kris Versteeg.

So van Riemsdyk instead had his first career assist. He joked of ripping the commemorative tape off the puck, but nothing has seemed to faze the rookie. Not even settling in with a roster of so many accomplished names.

"From a coach to everyone down the roster, (they have) more experience than me, so they all can offer me something," he said. "I'm just trying to listen as much as I can and take it all in."

Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.

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