Dennis Gilbert

Door Open For Hawks Defense Prospects

As this week’s prospect camp gets rolling on Sunday, the door is now wide open for some players to impress the front office in the wake of trades sending both Stephen Johns and Mike Paliotta out the door.

Here are some of the defensemen hoping to impress at camp this week.

Gustav Forsling
5-11, 176
DOB: 6/12/1996
Acquired: via trade from Vancouver for Adam Clendening

Carl Dahlstrom
6-4, 211
DOB: 1/28/1995
Acquired: 2nd round pick (#51 overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft

Dillon Fournier
6-2, 188
DOB: 6/15/1994
Acquired: 2nd round pick (#48 overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft

Erik Gustafsson
6-0, 176
DOB: 3/14/1992
Acquired: signed as free agent April 30, 2015

Robin Norell
5-11, 191
DOB: 2/18/1995
Acquired: 4th round pick (#111 overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft

Robin Press
6-4, 205
DOB: 12/21/1994
Acquired: 7th round pick (#211 overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft

Luc Snuggerud
6-0, 180
DOB: 9/18/1995
Acquired: 5th round pick (#141 overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft

Andreas Soderberg
6-4, 200
DOB: 6/16/1996
Acquired: 5th round pick (#148 overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft

Dennis Gilbert (photo)
6-2, 201
DOB: 10/30/1996
Acquired: 3rd round pick (#91 overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft

Ryan Shea
6-0, 175
DOB: 2/11/1997
Acquired: 4th round pick (#121 overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft

Sam Jardine
6-1, 197
DOB: 8/12/1993
Acquired: 6th round pick (#169 overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft

In the scrimmages, the preliminary rosters show these defensemen being together on the team rosters:

Team A
Carl Dahlstrom
Robin Press
Luc Snuggerud
Andreas Soderberg
Joni Tuulola

Team B
Gustav Forsling
Robin Norell
Dennis Gilbert
Ryan Shea
Sam Jardine

Team C
Mathieu Brisebois
Dillon Fournier
Erik Gustafsson

Note: Team C is made up of mostly pro veterans; these are the only three defensemen listed on that team. That team’s forwards include Kyle Baun, Vince Hinostroza, Garret Ross, Tanner Kero, Ryan Haggery, Chris Calnan, Marko Dano and Mark McNeill.

38 thoughts on “Door Open For Hawks Defense Prospects

  1. We all better pray like hell Dahlstrom develops into a viable and relatively decent NHL player..and fast.

  2. The NBA and NFL have a pre-draft combine every year where players’ athleticism and skills are tested (speed, maneuverability drills, skills testing, etc.) and published. Is there anything similar in the NHL?

    Reason I’m asking is that the Blackhawks have a lot of prospects in their system. Yes, development is important and often lesser known prospects (e.g. Shaw, TVR) leapfrog the better known prospects. But from an athletic and skills perspective is there anyway to find out which prospects have the physical tools to make it in the NHL?

  3. Reggie, there is an NHL combine. However, none of the drills take place on the ice. Mainly measures fitness and lung capacity.

  4. Reggie, in answer to your question, yes. There’s a pre draft camp where many of the draft eligibles are invited in for 3-4 days of testing and interviews. It has been held in Buffalo the last two years and it looks to be held there for the foreseeable future. It is kind of a marquee event for the NHL scouting community.

    The Blackhawks hold their own pre draft evaluation camp as well, it is very low key, isn’t publicized, and is not open to the public. Very under the radar. Skills testing, fitness evaluation, interviews, and so on. Draft eligibles and free agents are invited; they had Ken Appleby in, the free agent (as of last I checked) goaltender in who was the Memorial Cup winning goaltender with Oshawa and attended the Blackhawk prospect camp last summer. To my knowledge they have not signed him, nor obviously did they invest a draft choice on him. He has also attended prospect camps in Arizona and St. Louis.

    They’ve held this camp for at least two years, not certain if they did it before that. It is Mark Kelley’s baby, all the Blackhawk scouts attend and it lets them compare players, narrow down their list, etc.

  5. Looking again at the defensive depth chart, it appears the only two guys who are NHL ready are the two free agent signings, Eric Gustafsson and Cam Schilling. All the other prospects look to be at least a year away.

    Depending on other moves and how the cap shakes out, look for management to bring in one more veteran defenseman, maybe even as late as training camp. A Roszival type but hopefully someone more mobile, as much as I appreciate what Rosy has contributed.

  6. The Hawks recognize that the farm system is dangerously thin these days. It’s the price to pay in one sense of winning 3 Cups in 6 years. And sadly this offseason the Hawks have had to include Johns and Paliotta in deals (two of the few players in the system of near ready NHL value). McNeal is a major disappointment (which happens). Bowman and his scouts bave major work to do to restock the pipeline. And with true talent versus only the “under the radar” limited skill hard worker types like van Riemsdyk. Next offseason we find ourselves in the same salary cap hell when Seabrook comes to the negotiating table.

  7. Holly shit… the Hawks might trade another prospect with 0 NHL experience in order to resign Seabrook !!! What are we going to DO ???
    I’m ready to go hide in a corner and never see the light again the day in which the Blackhawks trade guys in the likes of Tyler Seguin or Wayne Simmonds like the other 2 teams that won the SC in the last 6 years.
    Look… Johns and Paliotta give me minimal pulse change. Brandon Saad on the other hand… now that’s a cap Hit in the balls.
    Cry about Saad. Cry a river about Saad.

  8. Hofmeister: Why not pay 3/4ths of Bickell’s salary to get rid of him and his cap hit, free up a bit of cap space to sign Kruger, and not have to give up another prospect? Is that logical?

  9. Ok Rufus, I’ll bite but I doubt you’ll respond …

    Farm system players “near ready NHL value:

    I will not include winger Panarin, center Tikhonov, or defenseman Gustafsson although I really should.

    – Winger Kyle Baun
    – Center Tanner Kero
    – Winger Mark McNeill
    – Center Phillip Danault
    – Goaltender Mark Visentin
    – Winger Ryan Haggerty
    – Winger Ryan Hartman
    – Winger Garret Ross
    – Defenseman Ville Pokka

    That’s 9 guys who should be ready to contribute at the NHL level within the next 12 months. Dano is 20 going on 21 and bring potential high end skill, I didn’t include him either.

    Will all 9 of these guys have long NHL careers? Probably not. Are some of these guys 4th line types? Yes. On the other hand, are there some really good prospects there? Yes – any team would want Pokka and Hartman and there were many, many teams chasing both Baun and Kero.

    Could the farm be stronger? Of course. That can be said of any team. Will more players with “true talent” surface? I would say yes … guys like Schmaltz, Hayden, Olafsson, Iacopelli, Snuggerud, Forsling, and possibly a few more have that profile.

    Note I did not name any of the three Swedish defensemen because it appears you’ve already dismissed them.

    I think my narrative is fair and balanced, sans Kool Aid or rose colored glasses. Yours on the other hand I think is a bit of complaining just to complain.

  10. Claude,

    The scenario you bring up is certainly on the table, meaning they might retain salary to move Bicks. Remember though their goal is to retain zero of it, so they will exhaust all avenues before keeping salary. They may have already done that and have to keep him (and move something else). These trade talks take lots of time and never move as fast as we want. This Sharp deal took 4-6 weeks to happen.

    There’s logic to what you say, but no way do the Blackhawks want to keep $3M of Bickell’s money just to move him. A lesser amount? Maybe.

    Remember too Bowman has said or at least intimated they’re going for it this year and the Sharp trade underscores that. He wanted NHL players back, specifically a “minutes” defenseman which they got in Daley. So maybe they keep Bickell thinking he will actually contribute. We all know Bickell’s warts and maddening inconsistency but that’s certainly an option … but they need to move someone(s).

    They’re taking their time with this and sorting through what options they have. Whether they’ll end up having an option that’s palatable in regards to Bickell remains to be seen, but it won’t be for lack of exploring.

  11. Hofmeister – 1
    Rufus – 0

    Hof nailed it on the head. The Hawks organizational depth is OK – not exceptional. But when you have an NHL roster that has limited openings, especially up front, the need is to have options available in case of injury and if they’re needed in trade. The Blackhawks have a lot of really good talent in the system. Elite? I’d say most analysts are considering Panarin & Teravainen in that group at his point. Excellent probably includes Schmaltz. And I’m glad Hof mentioned Visentin because he might be a real steal of a FA addition

  12. stanley cups aren’t won or competed for on the ahl level, the Hawks want an nhl team that can compete for a stanley cup not an ahl squad that can win the Calder. Is a thin ahl team bad? Yes, but the Hawks have (arguably) the deepest forward group of nhlers in the league, those are tradeable assets and we don’t have any top 4 d men over 32 or 33, theirs still some time until we should start getting worried.

  13. Rufus, the ever eternal pessimist.

    Reggie, why bring up that rag of a blog called Bleacher Report? It isn’t good enough to use as toilet paper!

  14. re: Reg on McNeill – the eternal pessimists will tell you they aren’t thrilled w/ McNeill. I think he did a nice job of maturing in Rockford last season and is in the mix to win a spot this fall… if he isn’t the prospect that entices someone to take Bryan Bickell off Bowman’s hands.

  15. I am just the messenger, Dave. The thread was discussing prospects. This was information that, IMO, was useful to the discussion. You are certainly entitled to your opinion about Bleacher Report but it is followed by tons of sports fans nationwide,

  16. Maybe bowman is just trying to make his best assets less desirable and keep his top guys under the radar and not as asked for in trade talks. He was huge on ryan Stanton and later put him on waivers. Just a thought

  17. It occurred to me that by placing a high value on your own prospects and talking them up they gain value. Obviously they have to be solid players, but you sure have to trust the evaluation by the organization about their own players. While they’re certainly having to give up players – Johns – there is a very clear organizational bias to guys who make it – Shaw, Kruger – versus the guys who don’t – Morin, that guy in Florida, and a couple others.

    Having quality prospects makes trades easier. Trusting the organization and their evaluations (and the 3 cups) has made these trades easier to swallow for me.

  18. I had a chance to attend on Sunday and watch the group that I would call the “college kids” let me give you a quick overview on who and what I saw on the blue line.

    Luc Snuggerud
    Dennis Gilbert
    Ryan Shea
    Sam Jardine

    Out of the this group Jardine was the standout. He and Hayden battled for most of the practice and neither disappointed. Jardine lined up Hayden in open ice and delivered a nice hit with both players maintaining balance. After that hit the rest of the practice it was ON between the two! Jardine has alot of fight along the boards. He really gets after it.

    The coaches had a drill with the players simulating alot of powerplay opportunities, playing catch on the backend while the forwards battled in front of the goalies(who I get to later) and then would take their blue line shots in traffic. None of the above guys had a “plus” shot. (Motte is a big shooter, WOW) I happened to be sitting by the blue line so I could really focus on this group. Luc Snuggerud is probably the best skater of the bunch and has decent size. Shea might have the best shot from the blue line but that wasn’t saying much. Gilbert didn’t do much that stood he might have just been overwhelmed to be there. Unfortunately, I walked away very unimpressed by this group.

  19. John Hayden and Sam Jardine have scrapped the last two prospect camps so not surprised that’s going on again.

  20. Hof – thank you for being a poster who actually brings some thought and perspective to the table on this board. There are far too many (and one in particular) hot-take all-star Skip Bayless wannabes who just like to hear themselves talk. All sizzle and no steak. Thanks to you and the many others (too many to mention) who bring insight and actual analysis to the table. In addition to Tab’s write ups, that is what I come here to read.

  21. @ Hof

    I really like Hayden’s game he’s a good skater with alot of touch around the net. I would say he not Schmaltz was the best guy on the ice yesterday. He plays bigger then he looks and he’s 6-2. Call me old fashioned but I like like bigger physical centers.

  22. I agree with you SSHM and thanks Chev for the kind words.

    The key with Hayden I think is going to be signing him. He’s a junior this year and he could definitely turn pro but it has been said he and his folks really want that Yale 4 yr. degree and college experience and who can blame them. It’d be risky for the Blackhawks to let him play out all four years so it merits a close watch.

    Jardine is a senior this year, a heart and soul guy, not a high ceiling but as you said he “brings it”. Barring anything unforeseen I’d expect them to offer him at least an AHL deal next spring. But I am getting ahead of things.

    Glad you got to go and you are right, Snuggerud can skate. One of the Rockford organizational people commented how much he developed this year at Univ. of Nebraska Omaha and how by year’s end he was on the top power play unit as a freshman. They went to the Frozen Four so no small feat.

  23. Report from the scrimmage today telling me Hayden had quite a game and was quite noticeable. Scored the winning goal too with just a few seconds left. They have him and Sam Jardine on the same squad so they don’t kill one another ha ha …

  24. A trusted buddy is at the scrimmage, he just emailed me and said it’s kinda chippy, there was a fight, the kid Liam Coughlin they just got from Edmonton had a go with one of the St. Lawrence invitees, I’m assuming that’s Woody Hudson. He said “two big guys”.

    Among other things, he said Anthony Louis (plays at Miami of Ohio) is flying around the ice like a waterbug, said “wow is he all kinds of fast”. I emailed him back and said he should be, he’s only 5’8 tops!

  25. @ Hof

    I am a long time reader of this blog, and only recently have I started posting (rarely). I do want to thank you for your insight and analysis, which helps my base of knowledge and perspective immensely.

  26. Mathieu Brisebois really impressed me in Indy last year. The beginning of the season was brutal for that team, they only won 3 games before Christmas, but he was the constant bright spot. Dillon Fournier too, but to a lesser extent. He got pushed around a lot more. Both of these kids have legit wheels and can really push the puck.

  27. Brisebois is very diminutive and is doubtful to ever get behind AHL play. He’s simply too small and his game is strictly predicated on being a water bug on skates. He’s got zero Andrew Shaw or Theo Fleury in him to overcome his diminutive size. Seems like a nice very hard working player otherwise. But he won’t be able to do what he does against NHL caliber players.

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