Blackhawks Training Camp: Breaking Down A Crowded Blue Line

The Chicago Blackhawks training camp opens on Friday morning. That’s right, hockey season is upon us!

Looking at the roster the Hawks have for training camp, the blue line might be as interesting this preseason as it’s been in years. Chicago invited 20 defensemen to camp of which 18 have a contract; that doesn’t mean all 18 will be playing professionally, however. Adam Boqvist will be representing the London Knights this season. But the Hawks do have too many bodies for the number of available roster spots in Chicago and Rockford.

So expect good competition from guys looking to make a roster – both in the NHL and AHL.

One of the players under contract who won’t be able to participate in training camp is Gustav Forsling, who is still working his way back from injury.

Here’s who will be at camp.

NHL Roster Players

Duncan Keith
Age: 35
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $5,538,462
2017-18: 82 games, 2 goals, 30 assists, 32 points

Brent Seabrook
Age: 32
Shoots: R
2018-19 Cap Hit: $6.875M
2017-18: 81 GP, 7 G, 19 A, 26 Pts

Connor Murphy
Age: 25
Shoots: R
2018-19 Cap Hit: $3.850M
2017-18: 76 GP, 2 G, 12 A, 14 Pts

Jan Rutta
Age: 28
Shoots: R
2018-19 Cap Hit: $2.300M
2017-18: 57 GP, 6 G, 14 A, 20 Pts

Erik Gustafsson
Age: 26
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $1.200M
2017-18 – NHL: 35 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 Pts
2017-18 – AHL: 25 GP, 3 G, 14 A, 17 Pts

Brandon Manning
Age: 28
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $2.250M
2017-18 (w/ Philadelphia): 65 GP, 7 G, 12 A, 19 Pts

TOTAL CAP HIT: $22,013,462

Prospects In The NHL Mix

Henri Jokiharju
Age: 19
Shoots: R
2018-19 Cap Hit: $925K
2017-18 – Portland (WHL): 63 GP, 12 G, 59 A, 71 Pts

Carl Dahlström
Age: 23
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $750,833
2017-18 – NHL: 11 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 3 Pts
2017-18 – AHL: 64 GP, 3 G, 25 A, 28 Pts

Dennis Gilbert
Age: 21
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $925K
2017-18 – Notre Dame (NCAA): 39 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 Pts

Blake Hillman
Age: 22
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $925K
2017-18 – Denver (NCAA): 41 GP, 3 G, 9 A, 12 Pts
2017-18 – NHL: 4 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 Pt

Intriguing IceHogs

Joni Tuulola
Age: 22
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $767,500
2017-18 – Sport Vaasa (SM-liiga): 58 GO, 7 G, 23 A, 30 Pts
2017-18 – AHL: 2 GP, 0 Pts

Luc Snuggerud
Age: 23
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $767,500
2017-18 – AHL: 40 GP, 5 G, 12 A, 17 Pts

Darren Raddysh
Age: 22
Shoots: R
2018-19 Cap Hit: $730K
2017-18 – AHL: 66 GP, 5 G, 12 A, 17 Pts

Lucas Carlsson
Age: 21
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $792,500
2017-18 – Brynäs IF (SHL): 44 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 Pts

Veterans

Andrew Campbell
Age: 30
Shoots: L
2018-19 Cap Hit: $650K
2017-18 – AHL (Tuscon): 60 GP, 2 G, 4 A, 6 Pts

Brandon Davidson
Age: 27
Shoots: R
2018-19 Cap Hit: n/a
2017-18 – NHL*: 51 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 Pts
(* split between Montreal, Edmonton and NYI)

The Kids

Adam Boqvist
Drafted: 1st round (#8) – 2018
2018-19 Team: London Knights (OHL)

Nicolas Beaudin
Drafted: 1st round (#27) – 2018
2018-19 Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

Jake Ryczek
Drafted: 7th round (#203) – 2016
2018-19 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

19 thoughts on “Blackhawks Training Camp: Breaking Down A Crowded Blue Line

  1. Good breakdown. A who’s who. It will be very interesting to see how everything comes together and how the d pairings look both in Chicago and Rockford the upcoming year.

  2. First 7 likely on opening night roster. Davidson be given a chance to provide more right shot depth, be in Rockford to start if Jokiharju starts season with Hawks.
    Either there is some trades or some of left shot defence prospects spend time in Indy.
    Need 2 and 7 to show they can still do it, Murphy, Gus and Forsling need to have breakout years to stick around. If Jokiharju ready to play a big role he stays if not they may give him more time, no rush. Likely gets a chance to start season and show he belongs.

  3. Obviously, by NHL standards it’s not exactly an elite group. Whatever.

    I hope that from among Hillman, Carlsson, and Tuulola we get a least one bottom pairing guy who can play a few years for us. I don’t know about Gilbert — I haven’t seen much of him but he looks slow-footed (e.g. Dylan Olsen) which is a real anvil to carry in an ever faster league.

    I am more optimistic about Rutta than most guys. I still think there is something there although Stan way overpaid him.

    On Jokiharju, I hope he is not rushed. Unless he shows huge progress in camp, I think he should start the year in Rockford. Colliton seems like a solid coach too – it might be a better fit for HJ than trying to learn Q-speak under the gun.

  4. Not a good first day of training camp when Murphy injures his back and is out 8 weeks. Back injuries can linger and return. Not good.

  5. I don’t have a good feeling about Corey Crawford coming back anytime soon and being effective.
    There seem to be mixed reports between management and Corey on his current health and availability. It feels like it is an uphill battle and he is significantly more injured that the Hawks are willing to reveal. This is scary!
    They need a solid backup/starter in goal or this will get as ugly as last year!

  6. with Murphy out for 2 months probably the D looks like;

    Keith – Jokiharju
    Gus- Seabs
    Manning – Rutta
    Davidson

    I don’t think they would keep Dahlstrom as a 7th D – keep him playing regular minutes in RFD

  7. Present d corps looks no better than the beginning of last year. Murphy injury compounds an already porous group. The present roster needs to massively overachieve to even get to playoffs imo. Many holes to fill.

    Bowman betting his job and others on an offseason stand pat mentality, and hope the kids shine brightly. I’m really surprised/shocked that the brass would be willing to skate the present group we see on paper and believe better results will come. Corey should be good to go and he isn’t. No Crow, no bueno guys. Wish I felt otherwise…

    Question, why do the Hawks keep drafting small players?

    Lets Go Hawks!

  8. Beaudin- will play well enough to make the Team… but with his size and age… Hawks will send him back to CHL

    Prospect camp–Impressed with Kurashev and Beaudin… both showed high level IQ/anticipation skills… and both are plus skaters/agility/speed

    Hear lots of great things on Wise… Looking like one of Bowman’s best drafts

  9. With as well as Beaudin played in Traverse City it’s tempting to think he’s close to NHL ready but not many 18 years old guys are ready for the NHL, especially d-men, and even more especially smallish d-men. There are exceptions, but for as well as he played I didn’t think he looked NHL ready. It will be fun to track him in training camp and hopefully he gets in some preseason games.

    As a LD, Forsling’s injury gives Beaudin one less LD to compete with, but there are a bunch of LDs with probably most of them ahead of him on the depth chart.

  10. Beaudin is impressing everyone for sure it seems. With his size and age making him a long shot this year, 2 other reasons could too. With 47 contracts now in the books and Davidson pending makes 48, usually a team leaves 2 or 3 for wiggle room, especially if they expect Mitchell and maybe one or 2 others to sign at end of season.
    Also if expansion draft happens to get pushed back to 21-22season an elc this year would make him eligible for the draft. If they wait another year he would be exempt either year the draft could be held.

  11. For the author – skip if you don’t feel like hearing critique.

    So, camp is underway. Time to put up some content up on the old website. No scoops on breaking news, no interviews, no in-depth analysis, no problem – we just want to talk some hockey, right? Totally cool. How about a primer for the readers on the area of the team that is most unsettled and interesting this season, the defense? Good idea. Let’s make it in list form, skip trying to create some kind of arbitrary ranking because that would be BS, just a nice set of basic info for the readers to start thinking about as they watch camp unfold. What info can we include about each player? Well, you thought of some of the things. But you left out some real basic stuff that would’ve been helpful and easy to include:

    Height/Weight
    Draft Year/Draft Position
    How Acquired
    Brief Strengths/Weaknesses Blurb

    Big deal? Nah. But man, if you’re gonna do something…

    I could’ve written this including the extra info in the time it took me to write this comment, and I’m not a hockey expert or a writer. Lucky for you, you caught me with a lot of time on my hands, recovering from spine surgery, crabby, and opinionated this morning.

    But this is for you, not for me – I guess you’re probably not making any money off this gig, but it’s much better for your own frame of mind not to have to look back at things you’ve done and say “Man, I half-assed that”.

    Wishing you peace, love, and comfortable shoes.

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