Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp Recap

With their NHL roster nearly set with Marcus Kruger re-signed, the Blackhawks’ annual prospect camp was a showcase of some of the organization’s next generation of contributors to show what they can do against each other.

Danault Hinostroza

Here are a few thoughts from this week’s camp:

Phillip Danault showed a great deal of ability all over the ice throughout the week. The 2011 first round pick is a very good skater who showed a high hockey IQ, playing the puck exceptionally well and creating space to attack the net. He also mixed it up with 6-9 defenseman Viktor Svedberg on Friday. Danault will work at center in Rockford this year.

Mark McNeill, the team’s other first round pick from 2011, also had a good week. Drafted at center, he’s now working primarily at wing and showed good vision on the ice and used his size (6-1, 211) effectively to win board battles. He will be in Rockford this season as well.

John Hayden may have been the most noticeable player throughout the week. He scored three goals in the scrimmages and used his size (6-3, 210) well. Hayden also dropped the mitts on Friday, having a brief exchange with defenseman Sam Jardine. The team’s third round pick this summer, he’s headed to Yale this season but earned the attention of the coaches and fans in attendance.

Three of the shorter players in camp performed very well.

Vince Hinostroza, listed at 5-9 and 185, is a smooth skater with good hands who also brings a physical element. He was a sixth round pick in the 2012 Draft and is headed to Notre Dame this year.

Another sixth round pick, 2013 selection Anthony Louis makes Hinostroza look like a giant. Listed at only 5-7 and 145, he’s only 18 but showed good ability to play with the puck and maneuver through traffic.

And Tyler Motte, a fourth round pick this year who is headed to the University of Michigan this season, also played well. Listed at 5-9 and 190, he scored during the second period on Friday and did a good job moving the puck. Motte and Hinostroza saw some penalty kill duty on Friday.

A few defensemen had good weeks as well.

Many eyes were on Stephen Johns, and rightfully so. He’s headed back to Notre Dame for his senior year, but he is one of the more physical defensemen in the system. Listed at 6-3 and 220, he’s a big hitter that did a nice job of taking away space and making good decisions with the puck during the scrimmages.

Justin Holl is also headed back to college this year, spending a final season at Minnesota. He saw some time at forward last season for the Gophers because he’s a good skater and handles the puck well, but will head back to the blue line this season. He saw action on both special teams units during the scrimmages.

Carl Dahlström, a second round pick this summer, is a strong, smooth skater that played a physical game. Only 18, he’s already listed at 6-3 and 211 and will head back to Sweden this season.

Dillon Fournier also looked good this week, handling the puck and skating very well.

A few players that didn’t spend as much time on the ice this week were forwards Kevin Hayes, Garret Ross and Ryan Hartman as well as goaltenders Antti Raanta, Mac Carruth and Kent Simpson.

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30 Responses to Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp Recap

  1. willy says:

    Dont forget VIKTOR SVEDBERG

    very good player at camp no just american players right ?

  2. shamrock says:

    I was unable to attend any of the camp. So I am wondering, in your opinion Tab, do you think Danault will make a jump to the NHL this year? Possibly grab the second line center spot?

  3. Sr. Brad says:

    I might be able to help with that Shamrock…the Hawks want Danault and McNeil to have a year in Rockford (or 2) to round out their game, and honestly that’s just code for “get tougher”…everyone in the world saw that final series versus boston and everyone knows what it takes to win a SC in the NHL these days…players like Toews have to take 4 viscous head shots in game 5 and then come back with a monster effort in game 6…Patrick Kane has to dig for pucks in the corner and take elbows to the head, and still dish out game winners. 20-30 years ago, during the Gretzky era, this wouldn’t have been tolerated, but its “all the rage” today. Patrick Sharp playing with one good shoulder, took cheap shot after cheap shot and yet he was often our most physical presence game in and game out…Sharp is our “sniper” on the Hawks and traditionally shouldn’t have to fill this role…but with a team of fast, talented players, we don’t have the space for enforcers and thus, EVERYONE (even Corey Crawford) has to fill in where needed with the physical push back. So the most encouraging things about camp this past week were not only Danault out skating everyone on the ice, but winning all of his board battles, dominating at the dot, crashing to the net with every chance he had, and even taking on 6’9″ Svedberg (and getting knocked around pretty good). Danault is speaking back to the Hawk’s brass in code telling them that he’s ready.

    McNeill already has the physical aspect to his game, but needed to show the desire and the finesse this week. His desire started a little slow, but finished with a flurry, and his finesse game impressed all week long. So both of them may be coming to the Hawks sooner than most of us expected, but the 2nd line Centre spot this year is Brandon Pirri’s to lose…and I hope for Brandon’s sake he watched the prospect camp this year, because Danault is chomping at the bit to take that spot.

    Others who really impressed were this year’s 3rd round pick John Hayden…he’s still young but is 6’3″ 210 lbs, skates well, has an incredible puck possession game, good at the dot, spends most of his time in front of the opposition net, and bangs the boards. This kid looks like yet another steal for Stan Bowman…and honestly, how far away is Hayden? Based on this year’s camp, maybe one season?

    Stephen Johns AND Justin Holl both had great weeks…there has been a lot of focus on Johns (and rightly so) but Holl had a great week in camp too, showing himself to possess a strong skating/puck rush game as a DMan…he too has great size and plays a physical game as well…it’s just Holl’s speed and skating ability can get him out of trouble and into scoring positions a lot quicker than Johns can. Both of our 2nd round picks figure to be ready within a couple of years…both will likely get promoted to Rockford at the end of their college seasons this year.

    Dillon Fournier, Carl Dahlstrom and Robin Norell all looked good as young defenders…both Fournier and Norell possess great speed and excellent puck handling skills and both show suprisingly good strength in their own zone…Dahlstrom in another 2 years, is going to turn into a beast…he’s already 6’3″ 210 and is built like a chisled rock. I said on draft day, that Dahlstrom was the surest pick amongst the bunch to become a good pro, and I love the Hartman and Hayden picks…

    As for those that didn’t play a lot, most had injury issues and others (like Ross and the 2 goalies) were held out to give others a chance to play…the coaches know what they have in them…and as for the goalies, the Hawks are very happy with the progress of Carruth, Simpson, and Whitney, and feel that all of them will make good pros.

    It was a great week for the Chicago Blackhawks, and yet a lot of top prospects didn’t even attend, let alone scrimmage. This franchise can now be officially labelled as bursting at the seams with talent….it’s really an embarrasment of riches and it’s why Kruger was only given a 2 year deal.

    Great job to the Bowmans, Barry Smith and the entire organization.

  4. wall says:

    Brad- did you actually go and see this Camp w/ your own eyes?

    Or is this what you have read about it???

    was Ross hurt- or were the Hawks just trying to protect the other kids from this “Shaw” type of bastard…

  5. Tab Bamford says:

    to shamrock’s question, the organization’s depth affords the Blackhawks the ability to let kids like Danault & McNeill get more seasoning in Rockford rather than rush them to the NHL level. Is Danault close? Sure. But do they need to push him? No, and that’s a beautiful thing.

    also, to Brad’s point, the quality of defensemen coming is almost ridiculous. The group at the camp was good and deep… and guys like Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck weren’t there.

    In the salary cap era, organizations need depth like this so they have options available if/when tough financial decisions present themselves. Bowman has done a marvelous job of creating enough quality organizational depth that he’ll have pieces to not only replace anyone that moves on like a Bolland or Frolik, but also to use if a key piece is needed at the deadline.

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    Also, let’s keep this in mind when looking ahead at these prospects:

    Clendening was drafted using a second round pick received in the Andrew Ladd trade.
    Danault was drafted using a first round pick received for the rights to Troy Brouwer.
    Dahlström was drafted using a second round pick received in the Dave Bolland trade.
    & Hayden was drafted using a third round pick received in the Michael Frolik trade.

  7. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, I am in Mexico now, so no, I did not attend…my comments come from what’s provided by the Hawks and a good friend in Chicago whose in the sport’s media, and reports on the Hawks…

    If you go to the Hawk’s own website, they have great source material from Bowman, Smith, Kelly et al on a consistent basis…its actually a really good website.

    Tab thanks for pointing out where those draft picks came from…we won another cup AFTER trading Andrew Ladd, Big Buff, Versteeg, Brouwer, etc…so for anyone to say that those deals killed us, isn’t accurate…even with a stocked line up, we might not have won anything more than 1 cup in 3 years. So Bowman made it through the summer of 2010 in great shape as we are the SC champions…PLUS, look at the haul that hasn’t even helped us yet…

    * Buff for Morin, Kevin Hayes, and Justin Holl (it also allowed us to dump the salaries of Sopel and Eager and get rid of a dead end prospect in Aliu)
    * Ladd for Vishnevsky and Adam Clendening…this was the trade that I thought for a long time was the one “bad trade” that Bowman engineered…as it turns out, we have another Cup and I think Clendening is the best NHL prospect in the AHL.
    * Brouwer brought us Danault and everyone is salviating over his play.
    * Versteeg brought us Stahlberg who had 2 good years in Chicago and was a vital part of our regular season streak and success.

    And now the Bolland and Frolik trades are adding great pieces…Bowman inherited a few good things as GM of the Blackhawks, but he has worked hard to make the most out of difficult situations and now we literally have an embarrasment of riches here.

  8. southsidehawkman says:

    Tab I love the prospect breakdown. I have 2 questions about the Hawks prospects. I recently saw an updated ufa roster. Is the Kyle beach and Shawn lalonde era over in Chicago? Also has anyone seen an updated minor league ranking report? The Hawks have maintained a top 10 minor league while icing a contending team which really speaks to the organization strengh. I’m wondering how they are looking going into this season. I’m very excited about Danault, McNeil, and of course Clendening. I’m wonder if Olsen will show up in Chicago this season too

  9. Tab Bamford says:

    SSHM: Lalonde & Beach were RFAs, and both received qualifying offers. re: Olsen – he’ll need to have a significantly better season in Rockford this year to get back in the mix for ice time at the United Center.

  10. It is very exciting as a fan knowing that the franchise is in such good shape for what seems like a long time. Good team. Good management.

    It’s never happened in my lifetime, being a fan of a team that is awesome and looking towards a long run of success. And it’s a group that is easy to root for.

    It’d be amazing if the Cubs rebuilding plan actually works and then there were 2 franchises on a solid path – I certainly realize the Cubs have A LOT further to go to get there, but it’d be fun.

  11. MS says:

    Anyone know why the 5th round pick (Luke Johnson) didn’t attend camp? Seems like he was the only 2013 pick that didn’t attend.

  12. Sr. Brad says:

    SSHM, I was shocked at Olsen’s drop in play this past season…as a young DMan with the Hawks, he looked nervous and a little slow, but showed promise…this past year in Rockford he fluctuated between bottom 2 pairings for a lot of the year, and struggled. As Tab said, he would have to have a huge season to be even ready for next year…as I see it, with all the great DMen now in the organization and Stanton and Clendening pushing for starting spots with the big club this season, Olsen’s career is in jeopardy, as the Hawks can’t justify the first round money that they have in him past another contract…the same with Kyle Beach who had a MUCH better season this past year.

  13. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab(, and Sr. Brad) — I haven’t seen any of the prospects or guys play in Rockford – thank you for the info.

    I read Yannic Perrault was the “new faceoff coach” working at the prospects camp – Stan, et al recognizing a problem/need and addressing it…who are they bringing-in to be the “new powerplay coach”?

  14. wihawkfan says:

    also, any news on a goalie coach?

  15. wall says:

    Brad- the reason I asked if you “actually” watched these prospects at camp- is I trust and value your opinions…

    What I read about the Prospects (from sites/people who were supposedly there… and not from Hawk’s Brass)- was that Danault was very good, always around puck, fluid skater- the 3 guys from USDP were very good (although one is the size of a jockey)- Hayden is/was a steal- ( The guy is going to Yale how = IQ)… Motte is short but has a low CGI like St. Louis/Marchand ( wide ass)…

    The only real beef/??? about your report was- in my reading – McNeil disappeared at times and people actually used the word(s) dis-interested!!!

    Time will tell- but the Bowman/Scouting of the USDP- sounds like a real winner this year for the Draft!!!!

  16. Champs2013 says:

    I didn’t have a chance to read these comments but I want to get it cleared up if someone has seen McNeill quite a bit. Tab gave him a good review but I’ve heard others who’ve seen him bash his effort and overall game. I don’t expect him to be a finished product at this point but what is the story with him? He has BUST written all over him from what I’ve heard. By bust I mean not living up to his draft position which would mean he should be a productive top 6 minimum imo. Anybody have an honest solid report on this guy?

  17. Morrison says:

    Krugs 1.325

    leaves us 1.5 for the trade deadline (having one of the .900 guys in rockford).

  18. Tom Leonard says:

    I know why Raanta was not on ice for this camp (minor injury) but why Carruth? I am quite interested in seeing Carruth play pro hockey this year.

  19. Tom Leonard says:

    Edit…I know Carruth did play some as evidenced in Holl’s “mic’d up” on the Hawks website, but the article mentioned he was not on the ice much.

  20. Sr. Brad says:

    Tom, he and Simpson didn’t get game scrimmage time because the Hawks said they “know” what they have in both of them. Barry Smith raved about Carruth all week. The Hawks simply wanted the remaining goalies to get the game time so they could observe them…starting in September there is going to be a huge battle between Carruth and Simpson to see who gets the Rockford spot…as the other will be in Toledo. It won’t be easy for Carruth because Simpson excelled at Toledo once he was sent down last year, and his last performance with Rockford after he was called up was nothing short of unbelievable…IMO they are both ready to shine in Rockford and its time to move Carter Hutton who just isn’t going to be an everyday NHL goalie.

  21. Peter says:

    Brad,
    I think the Predators signed Hutton this offseason. He was a UFA and not offered a deal from the Hawks.

    Separate Rant:
    I like the depth of the Hawks across the board…Perhaps one knock is the lack of the obvious top 6 talent in the system. This becomes a function of drafting late, but Saad, TT, Danault all seem to have potential (plus others). The Red Wings, when they were rolling drafted well and then developed players while striking gold every so often (Datsyuk). Finally, and it will cost a lot to resign them, our young depth in the top 6 already has a couple members playing on the big club…and they just won their 2nd Cup. 19 and 88 have at least one 8 year contract in them both.

    Finally, did anyone see the deal Bergeron got when he extended with the Bruins. He has injury history and I understand that, but 6.5 million per year seems like a bargain. I hope that Kane and Toews give a similar discount to stay in Chicago. It won’t be 6.5 million, but hopefully they like winning and will sacrifice a little to keep high level talent around them.

  22. Mike says:

    IMO if Toews goes to FA he will get $9mm+. If Kane goes FA $7.5 to $8mm maybe. Question will be how well Kane plays. Toews and Kane seem to like each other on and off the ice……ie: Kieth and Seabrook. But Toews wants to win at all cost. If Kane shows the same, both will get long term deal at $8-8.5mm.

  23. Tab Bamford says:

    to Mike’s point – important to remember that Kane & Toews have the same agent. Last time, they received matching deals. Since then, both has a Conn Smythe on their resume. Different players, but will the two faces of the franchise want/expect matching contracts five years later?

  24. Tab Bamford says:

    to Peter’s rant about developing top 6 talent: Kane & Toews have plenty of years left in them, but we have to remember that both Sharp & Hossa are signed for the next few years as well. Realistically, this team needs to develop 2-3 players that can work into a top-six role over the next 3 years before a transition away from Sharp & Hossa can begin. Saad has already played a top six role for most of a regular season, even if that was a lockout-shortened campaign. And if you believe Danault & Teravainen are legit top-six caliber players, how many more do the Hawks need to develop? 19, 88, Saad, Danault & Teravainen is five players by my math…

    Will it cost money to keep top six talent? Absolutely. Which is why Bowman keeps his bottom-six expenses down. Remember: the Hawks had two players – Saad & Shaw – from the 2011 Draft on the ice during the Stanley Cup Final, and they had three selections before picking Saad (McNeill, Danault & Clendening).

  25. Champs2013 says:

    They just paid Bickell to be a top 6 for 4 years. They didn’t pay him 16mil to be on the 3rd line. Besides 2C, the hawks are set for yrs in the top 6 barring injuries and 88/19 not getting re-signed.

  26. Tails says:

    Bickell is getting paid like a top 6 forward, but I don’t see him keeping a top 6 spot for long with Saad on the roster. One of two at least will be a top 6 quality forward playing on the 3rd line.

  27. Tim G says:

    Tails… There may also be a spot for both of them long term. I mean Saad is good now, but he is still growing. Sharp is 31 now, and in the long term could be a piece that get moved in that 2015 offseason. That would be 5.9 mil off the books that could be used to resign the likes of Toews, Kane, Saad, Leddy, and Clendening (assuming all 5 remain in the longterm plans).

    I don’t expect Sharp to get moved at that time, but that would be one way to get Bicks in the top 6 now… and Saad in the Top 6 later. It would also leave a scorer on the 3rd line for now… I personally like the idea of a Saad/Shaw combo for 2 years. If Saad develops into a stud, maybe he phases out Sharp… if he doesn’t grow like he should… then he wont be a long term top 6 anyway…

    Just a thought…

  28. Morrison says:

    Sharpy will stay for less, maybe 4or3m for a 2or1 yr at a time. He really likes being a Blackhawk and would be older then…

  29. Champs2013 says:

    Every top player on the hawks has a no movement clause except Hossa so it’s hard to say move this guy, move that guy. The core is in place for years. The top 6 could change for some games but its virtually set for years.

  30. Sr. Brad says:

    Bickell can play both roles, but make no mistake, the Hawks paid Bickell to be a top forward…

    Peter, thank you…great news IMO, Simpson, Carruth and Whitney are all very good goalie prospects and are going to turn into good NHL goalies. With Kharlsson back in Sweden this season, it leaves the door in Rockford wide open for our young goalies…a great opportunity.

    I think Tab is right on both accounts…Toews and Kane will get similar contracts and I think both will re sign here for a little less than full market value…remember, the Hawks ensure that Toew’s and Kane’s pockets are lined with money from all the commerical opportunities they are presented…they both do VERY well in Chicago.
    Also, top 6 talent is already here in Chicago and within the system. As Tab said Toews and Kane have many years to go, and even if we decide that Hossa and Sharp have only a few years left, TT, Danault, Kevin Hayes, McNeil, Hartmann will be ready to fill those voids…plus we have no idea how good Pirri, Smith, Morin and Jimmy Hayes will become in 3 years. Saad is a legitimate top 6 guy now, and will only get better…he’s Little Hoss for goodness sakes…So I wouldn’t worry about that elite talent tag that some people without from Chicago’s pipeline…I think we are more than fine.

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