Rockford Busy Building For The Future

If you’ve been following some of the minor league player movement lately, the Rockford IceHogs have been interesting.

Back in January, defenseman Philip Holm signed with Lausanne Hockey Club in Switzerland’s National League. Holm, 28, had signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Hawks last summer. When he left, Holm had 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 30 games for the IceHogs.

In late April, forward Mathias From signed with Düsseldorfer EG in Germany’s top league. From, 22, had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 49 games this past season for Modo in Sweden’s second division. He was originally a fifth round pick (#143 overall) by the Hawks in the 2016 NHL Draft. Chicago owns From’s NHL rights until June 1.

Also in late April, forward Jacob Nilsson signed a two-year contract with Färjestad BK, where he will skate with former IceHogs teammate Victor Ejdsell. Nilson, 26, appeared in two NHL games for the Hawks during the 2018-19 season without recording a point. He scored 22 goals with 31 assists in 123 AHL games with the IceHogs over the past two seasons.

Last week, outlets in Sweden reported that forward Anton Wedin has signed with Swedish team HV71. Wedin, 27, did not score a point in four NHL games in late November and early December. He then missed all of January and most of February with a sprained MCL. Wedin scored seven goals and added 10 assists in 31 AHL games for the Rockford IceHogs.

Meanwhile, Rockford has added to its roster for the future.

In early April, Rockford signed forward Riley McKay to a one-year AHL contract for the 2020-21 season. McKay, 21, played four years with the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL. Last season he had 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists) and led the club with 93 penalty minutes. McKay was a teammate of Kirby Dach during the 2018-19 season.

The IceHogs also announced in early April that 28-year-old forward Garrett Mitchell signed an AHL contract for the remainder of the 2019-20 season and the 2020-21 campaign. Mitchell registered six points (four goals, two assists) in 15 games after joining Rockford on Feb. 6. Mitchell was originally selected in the sixth round (#175 overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft by the Washington; he appeared in one game with the Capitals during the 2016-17 season.

Also in early April the Icehogs signed 24-year-old goaltender Tom Aubrun signed a two-year AHL contract starting with the 2020-21 season. Aubrun was the NEHC Player and Goaltender of the Year each of the last two seasons with Norwich University. The native of France posted an impressive 0.77 goals-against average, .967 save percentage and .889 winning percentage last season. He led the NEHC with 13 shutouts, including nine in a row from Jan. 25 to Mar. 7, and put together a 23-2-2 record in 27 appearances. Norwich won the NCAA Division III title in 2017 and 2019.

Forward D.J. Busdeker signed a two-year AHL contract in late April. Busdeker, 20, played forward and defenseman during his four-year junior career with the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL. He posted a career-high 57 points (22 goals, 35 assists) in 62 games last season.

Most recently, Rockford signed defenseman Jack Ramsey to a one-year AHL deal for the 2020-21 season. After being selected in the seventh round (#208 overall) by the Blackhawks in the 2014 NHL Draft, Ramsey attended the University of Minnesota. The 24-year-old appeared in 46 games with the Indy Fuel of the ECHL last season, where he scored two goals with eight assists.

48 thoughts on “Rockford Busy Building For The Future

  1. Could be some competition with Icehogs this year as Barrett, Altybarmakyan and possibly Teply( other options available too) join the forwards on Nhl contracts in Rockford. Brennan, Caramosa may not be resigned and Fortin a rfa needs resigned. Right now not alot of room on Nhl roster. Possibly 11 forwards under Nhl contracts now for next season could start the year there. Plus Mitchell and 2 others on Ahl deal already signed, with newcomers.

    Regula will join the defense on Nhl elc, Beaudin and Carlsson may start there, plus Gilbert and Krys still under contract along with Osipov under Ahl deal. Tuulola, McCosham and MacArdle need resigned. Seeler under contract for another year could end up there too.

    At least 1 of Delia or Lankinen plays there with Tomkins likely in nets, with decisions on Subban and Nalimov as potentially impacting them. Gravel and Peeters be free agents if not signed by june 1st, but have to think Indy would be only destination to start year if they are signed.

  2. Plenty of room on the NHL roster if you have a true competition and put the best players on the roster along with trading Strome,Maata,and Smith.Kamph,Carpenter,and Nylander would have a battle to make the team and Shaw would not be physically ready.Crawford not resigned and Seabrook &Dehaan not ready either.That would leave many open spots up for grabs.With the Governor of Illinois and his 5 Level Destroy Illinois Plan there will be no home games until 2021.Cook County will never hit levels 4 and 5.Milwaukee Blackhawks?Has a certain ring to it.

  3. Wow, can we examine for fun the players Bowman has signed for Rockford? This is a joke and why he and the entire coaching and scouting staff should be fired! Ir’s one thing to sign all those below average european players….but then to turn around a sign players that have absolutely no reason to be at Rockford!!! And if so, they are taking a spot away from an actual Chicago draft pick!
    Shall we start the laughing machine:
    1. Tom Aubrun? A goalie from France who played DIV3 hockey at Norwich? What for?
    2. Riley Mckay? 21 year old, 3 points last year…why? Because he carried Dach’s bag?
    3. Garrett Mitchell? a 28 year old career AHLer? What for?
    4.D.J. Busdeker? 20 year old undrafted, played defence and forward, not good enough to be drafted…Why?
    5. JAck Ramsey? 24 year old College draft, 7th rounder, ECHLer, will never make the NHL. Not a prospect!!!
    All this is a joke. When Tallon ran the Minors, he wanted young players, players he drafted to play and develop….not journeymen whoi take prospects ice time away? Like when Bowman had Cody Franson, Bouma, Pelletier, and other recycled players.
    This is the problem with Bowman.

  4. Tim W the first move i’d like to see is a new Gm and coach and bring a new prpspective on how to make the best of the talent available. Then make moves and bring in what they need.

    Hull that was kinda my point mostly young talent that was going to be competing for spots in Rfd., good to see that. Your sorta arguing with yourself there.

  5. Some people see the glass half full, some half empty-but there are always a few that can’t see the glass.

  6. Ahhhhhhh, Hull loves arguing with himself Ian ,it`s always a win win situation with high fives all around .

  7. Hull makes a lot of great points…Not everyone will agree and that’s okay. “Free speech”
    Instead of trying to bash Hull why don’t you guys tell us why or how these 5
    players that Hull named will make a difference in either Rockford or in Chicago?
    Or is the Hawks minor league system so bad that they sign a bunch of plugs to fill Rockford’s roster.
    Easy to bash…how about some facts.

  8. Time to bring back Rockford legend Morin for one more kick at the can. Maybe his fourth time w/ the team will do the trick. All he needs is another chance.

    The one thing Bowman and I have in common is being fond of Morin’s game. Worst case scenario, he can do “One More Shift” if it doesn’t work out.

  9. Competition which is first line i posted is why they make Rockford who there under contract to better, thats what it’s all about. With Nhl contracts on elcs and others on Ahl contracts, all young talent that can be sent down to Indy the way it should be, unlike having veterans on Nhl contracts not elcs who can refuse to go. Which is why i said Hull was arguing with himself because he said thats what should be there and it was. Hopefully there is real competition for Bkackhawks roster spots too, because it’s what the youngsters need to improve.

  10. Boys… been reading your posts. Reading your posts & the tea leaves ( Player comments)-we’re getting closer to Bownhead-Colliton sweep. Hull- I checked out Riley McKay after your comments. You are spot on re recycled players…BUT to me- McKay is worth a shot cuz of his grit. Wait! Here it comes! ( broken record) McKay…& Gilbert ( I like Gilbert as one of six D) would offer a deterent to liberties opponents have been taking since Colliton became coach. Jus sayin…PS-McKay did put up ok numbers…Wilson had similar numbers in minors & was drafted to hit. Wilson’s scoring has improved only the last couple years. Gilbert & anyone like McKay don’t have to win fights… just showing up would be improvement on the team. Skill players could just play & not worry about the chippy stuff. OR not….( waiting for the pounding)

  11. “the scouting staff should be fired”

    WTF are you on? The ONE THING we’ve done reliably is scout talent from Europe and the draft. Does every signing or pick work out? Of course not! But on average we’re lightyears ahead of most other teams in that department.

    The problem isn’t bringing in talent. It’s keeping the talent that we acquire. It’s hard to tell whether our cap management or trades suck harder. Of course that’s 100% on the guy signing players to contracts and trading them. Bowman needs to go. But it’s getting old seeing weak ass evidence being moulded to fit a preconceived narrative over and over.

  12. HONEST GUY, when a player is drafted who is playing in Europe at the time, a team has 4 years to sign him to an elc or lose his rights. From was drafted in June 2016, so on if not signed to an elc by june 1st the Blackhawks lose his rights, which almost surely will happen. Goalie Peeters is in same boat and unlikely to be signed. Ryan Shea in Ncaa likely not signed as this is his senior year and their date is August 1st to become fas, reports were he won’t sign. Alexis Gravel a goalie in Chl will become a fa on June 1st if not signed as they only have 2 years to sign players Chl teams own their rights to. Like to see him signed to a minor league deal, still a chance he can be late bloomer as goalies often are but coming off a rough year and may move on from him too.

  13. Hull 65 fails.to understand that Rockford needs players too. Just because players are signed to AHL contracts doesn’t mean they will play in the NHL. Rockford is for development…..PERIOD….if the player develops to the Hawks liking he gets a shot in the NHL. And the goalie that was signed from Norwich, heck he had 9 straight shutouts, doesn’t matter what league you are in, that is impressive, why not take a flyer on him….and now withy best John Belushi impression….. BUT NOOOOOOO…..HULL65 wants to poo poo every single decision made…..Give it a rest already.

  14. The Iceman Cometh…nice post Iceman! Yeah, why are you guys piling on Hull? My man made some valid points; I do see where you need some older guys to show the youngsters how to act and train like professionals. But, Blowman signed a few too many! I loved the Morin reference! What happened there? That guy was better than any 3rd line guy we have now. How about that Bickell-Regin-Morin line? They were money for about a month, and then poof…gone! Was it booze? It was something! I know because I’ve played with guys who had so much talent, but something, mainly booze, coke, or pot, was holding them back and the organization did not want to entrust them to the fans, for fear of them staining the team’s image.

  15. Ian, I nam arguing with the scouting staff and Bowman, that are scouting 2nd Div. Swedish players, a goalie from France playing in Div3, journeymen, etc… Isb this all they can bring to Rockford? If that can’t well in the first 3-4 rounds, which is a huge reason why the Hawks are where they are today since 2015, why are the signing young players from the CHL that actually have the real potential to fill a roster in Rockford…Young hungry players that have been overlooked in a draft but have good dtats…goal scorers, players with size and speed… and please CHl goalies that play lots of games and not soccer goalies from Belgium or NCAADiv3? What games areb this guys watching? What players are they spotting? Seriously!!!

  16. Hull what are they spotting, how about Panarin who you constantly say wish was back, their success rate from Europe in getting quality players has been fine. Sure a few busts but more often than not pretty good hockey players.

    If you expect higher end players to sign Ahl deals, you’re dreaming. They would be under Nhl deals and take up a spot on the 50 allotted contracts, meaning ability to sign drafted prospects to elcs would compromised, risking losing them for somebody who is a borderline Nhler at best likely. That would be something to blame on the Gm for sure. Also you specifically state in your original post you want your future hopeful nhlers in Rfd. That is your elc players and potential there with alot of them to compete for an Nhl roster spot before long. Compliment them with Ahl deals and not block them with veterans taking up spots who can’t be sent to Indy if room needed for a prospect,
    which is where you’re arguing with yourself. This compliments your Ahl roster, provides competition for roster spots and can send a messsage to an under avhieving elc guy too.

    Actually i am kind of impressed with how the prospect system is getting retooled. As Mo keeps referring too, you keep minor system successful by creating waves of players coming, rookies at Nhl level, Ahl has your almost ready players, drafted players developing elsewhere ready to sign elcs and then start next wave at draft and maybe undrafted signing or trade. Agree finding a few more in Chl could definitely be an advantage, but still getting it done pretty well it appears.

    It’s what is going at Nhl level where i have a problem, a coach who doesn’t seem to connect with his players and a Gm who changes his course every time he talks about where team is headed. As i said hope a new Gm and coach are brought in to assess the current talent and how to get most out of it, then get what is needed to compliment it with an eye keeping prospect system on the right road.

  17. Read the other day where Kane gave an endorsement for Patrick Sharp as President, which would work for me. Promote Al MacIsaac to Gm and you have a new perspective on the team on the ice, plus give Sharp somebody knows the organization from a executive point of view to lean on about the strong points of the organization and keep that working and hire a coach who they both agree on. Could be Gallant or Lavlioette, maybe someone else.

  18. Also meant to say leave the business end of things to the businessman Danny Wirtz, while the hockey people look after the on ice end of it.

  19. Imagine bitching about Ahl signings. Like em all even with the odds of them being anything slim to none.

    Bitching to bitch

  20. In Florida,, Eating Mahi in restaurants, playing Golf daily and walking on the Beaches… Hows the Hawks doing in this off season under dumb ass Govn. Prickster?
    we need to hire Schiff for P.R. guy & Pelosi too!

  21. All I want to see is players that Mr. Bowman and Kelley draft in Rockford. Obviously, if there aren’t any and he is digging into Swedish Div.2 leagues, the message is that his amateur scouting has failed the team since 2015 or even 2013!
    Panarin is a homerun free agent signing but it was a short honeymoon because 2 years later he got rid of the best linemate Kane has ever had, production wise.
    I understand filling an AHL roster, but that roster has been week for 10 seasons. It has produced Teuvo and Nick Schmaltz…. that’s it?

  22. Hull saying your only one that wants Rfd to be successful, come on surely you got a better response then that. Fact is players don’t play in Ahl because if Chl team owns their rights, they play in Nhl or back there until their 21. Even at that, high almost ready picks make jump directly. Players that choose Ncaa are usually 22 or 23 until they sign an elc and often spend little or no time in Ahl if high end talent. Barely 18year olds in Europe in alot of cases prefer to stay closer to home to develop and mature before coming over to play. Even at that high skilled players like Boqvist who do come over, still have a limited shelf life in Ahl.

    Yes it sounds good to blame organization for draft picks not all playing in Rfd., but not realistic at all. Ahl is not for developing your high end superstars or was it intended too. Rather players who still need time to become Nhl players, sometimes you find late blooming gems like a Keith but most are filling out support roles not top roles. With 50 contracts total allowed and usually 3 or 4 spaces not filled for in season movement. You a 23 man nhl roster plus injury list, an Ahl roster that often 25 or 26 man plus injuries, supplementing it with Ahl deals is a necessity to have a team. Filling up Rfd., with as many elcs as possible and Ahl deals is the best way to make it a feeder system work.

    Complaining about failed draft picks is just the system working and weeding ones who just don’t cut it before they get to Nhl level. All successful systems find the best and move on from the rest, that’s why they are successful.

    How about players like Denault, Hino, Hartnan, Jokiharju, Dahlstrom, Nordstrom, TVR, Saad, Shaw, Leddy to name a few who went on Nhl careers after playing in Rfd., in the last 10 years.

  23. Players who saw time on the current roster after being recalled from Rfd.
    Goalies: Delia, Lankinen
    Defense: Boqvist, Gilbert, Beaudin, Carlsson
    Forwards: Highmore, Hagel, Quenneville, Sikura, Wedin and Dach rehabbed there.

    Others on current roster who played in Rfd. last 10 years: Saad, Shaw Kampf, plus Fortin and Nilsson who saw Nhl time before last year.

    Some have moved on or will be moved on from yes, Some names there a big part of future, others tbd.

    Names like Kurashev, Entwistle, Barrett, Alty, Teply Regula are either pkayed or will play play next season in Rfd., strong candidates for roster spots in coming years. As i said early that part se3ns to be working.

  24. For those who try to say the Red Wings develop superstars in Grand Rapids. What do current stars Dylan Larkin and Denny Dekeyser have in common with past stars Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Zetterberg? None of them played in the Ahl, Detroit has been very good at taking players who aren’t Nhl ready and developing them and making Nhl players out of them. High pick Zadina for example, his time in Grand Rapids speaks how far he was from Nhl ready, nothing to do with how their Nhl ready superstars are treated by the organization.

  25. Going to be a thing of beauty when Barratt and Kurachev are flying around out there like swarm and stinger.

  26. Ian, see what your saying about TB. They are at 76.2 and cap was at 81.5 with cap staying or going down to 80 m for next yr and maybe yr after that.

    Salary cap could be at 81.5 or 80 for next 3 yrs. Which would be really good for us. Just make sure cap starts to go up when we need it to/when young wave needs bridges.

    They have 4 m to sign 8 players including Sergachev Cirelli and Cernak.

    So who do we want from TB. Prob is some team might be willing to take a player they want to get rid of and not who we want to help them out.

  27. Play, there wouldnt be many who wouldnt. Even if the player is as good a J. Neal is he sucks at D, bye bye.

    HHNL deep is what we want. Sharpy is that, even Steeger. Bread Man and Debrincat are not Stanley Cup players even though I like them both.

  28. PB, Devils slated right now to pick 6th, 10th and 17th. Wonder what it would take to get no. 10 away from them and what kind of return they are looking for, current roster or picks and prospects. 6th likely they want to hold onto.

    Mo there is speculation that Kilhorn whose contract becomes modified ntc could be shopped. Even at that, 4.45m for 3 more years caphit, still be hard pressed to get Sergachev signed and fill out their roster. Still only have 19m for 8 or 9 spots.

    Kilhorn was on pace for 30 goals, above career avg. Plays good defense and good size, handle the physical stuff no problem. The right package there for those 2 be a nice return but what would the cost be.

  29. Keep our top 5/10 pick 19 88 2 77 and Horsemen. Anyone else trade for that NJ 10th pick-which could turn out to be ping pong balls. Anyone else for TB players.

  30. Mo that could be an issue if draft held early. May not be able to trade roster players until playoffs end. So wouldn’t be able to make trade for a no.1 pick with current players involved.

  31. With salary cap stying same for maybe 3 yrs. Were not going to need cap space until young wave are at bridges. The ‘temp’ ufas contracts can runout on there own/can trade some-buyout maybe. How many yrs does 7 have left? I think it might be better to just let 7 contract go on its own and use trading 12 and others for a better pick.

    Get more out of 12 value. I mean were not going to top 5/10 for a couple yrs anyways so I donot see the rush on 7 contract. If we get there faster it might only be buyout of 1 yr so not so bad if we really need space by then.

  32. I like the idea of getting a top 10 pick/NJ or young players from TB-salary cap heck for 12 and 20 and just watch 7 contract go on its own.

    Maximize the young wave and not rush 7 unless needed.

  33. Ian,
    Teuvo and Saad are 1st and 2nd round picks that made an impact in the NHL, I agree. Danault an impact not as a Hawk, and Leddy a Wild pick, has made a career away from Chicago…The Rest? Shaw is a great 4th line (overpaid) player. Nick Schmaltz again is not in Chicago and a first round pick. So 7 years of playoffs from Bowman, 3 years out and he gets a pass.
    Who was the last left winger he drafted to make an impact since Saad? Dcat is a right winger know playing left wing. Who has he drafted as a goalie as a prospect during his tenure? Should we go through this again…? Forget it, when you trade away potential or NHL proven players , all that can save you is your drafting. Because Bowman makes the worst trades.
    So, if you lose Sharp, Sikura doesn’t save you! If you lose Hossa, Nylander doesn’t save you. If you lose Panarin, Saad doesn’t save you. If you lose the Hammer, Dalhstrom doesn’t save you. If you lose Teuvo, Kampf will not save you….If you lose Nick Schmaltz, Strome doesn’t save you…. You lose Versteeg, Carpenter will not save you!!! If you lose Crawford, Gravel, Nalimov, Peeters, Delia will not save you either!
    Players play to their potential but your job and responsability as a GM is to keep giving your team, your players and your coaches a chance to succeed which means keep drafting well for NHL players that have a real impact on your success. I don’t care where you draft or Cap issues that only seem to affect Mr. Bowman.
    Don’t throw in Wedin, Hagel, Fortin, Nordstrom, Hino, Hartman, Hayden, Gilbert, Karlsson,….these guys will never produce or have a serious impact. It’s embarassing!
    Oh, and the GM needs to hire a great coach if you are going to fire their best coach in the history of their organisation, not some nerd who has no clue what he is doing and certainly does not have the savy and passion that COACH Q had.
    Time to move on from Stan and this coach. But, the problem is that Wirtz knows nothing about hockey.

  34. Enjoy watching Hagel, Carpenter and Gilbert while I enjoy watching Teuvo, Schmaltz and Leddy.

  35. Damn, I forgot about Zack Smith! Thx Ian.
    I do like Dach. Not Zack.
    Oh, hey Ian where’s Darling? Where you one who wanted Crawford traded in 2015?

  36. Hull no if you go back and look , my posts on trading Crawford and go with Darling or even Raantta as some suggested were, i wouldn’t do that because neither had proven themselves as a no.1 yet. So don’t bother trying to rewrite that history. Similarily the same can be said about Lehner although he may become a no.1, but not paying him as if he did might’ve have be right move, cap and length wise. Said same lately about people saying sign Kudohin, 34 years old and never been a no.1 goalie or played over 40 games in a season. Good backup but not for replacement. Murray be available from Pens could be an option for long term goaltender. If they don’t take Askarov in 1st round, which current Gm is unlikely too, possibly Nico Dawes is still there when they pick at 56, be a solid future choice maybe. Where they come from doesn’t matter as long they get them.

    I liked Dach too, Wrap and i posted prior to last years draft that the fact he could play right away may lead them to pick him, my hope was as it is this year they get it right.

  37. Hull, Smith’s time on ir and then season ending back surgery pretty much sums up his year. Pretty low to judge the guy for playing through that at well below 100%.

  38. Hull, Teuvo, Schmaltz and Leddy good players on highlight films but not an ounce of grit in any of them. You are the one that ask for big strong CHL or North American players like I do yet you gloat about the total opposite. Just thinking you have negative thoughts on everything. I know you mentioned that you only study the Blackhawks so you can’t see who should they get before they get them. You did call for Dach as did I. A lot of time to study now on who and how the Hawks should get. This way we all could see how intelligent you are. Instead of criticizing what was done.

  39. Grit from an individual is overrrated. Milan Lucic brings a ton of it – hasn’t been effective in years.

    Grit has to be part of the player’s game and work within the structure of how the player works in the system of the team he’s on. In no way am I signing up for more Ben Eagers than Teuvo or Schmaltz. But a guy like Teuvo, Schmaltz or Leddy needs to be complimented.

    Again – Whining about those guys leaving isn’t going to solve anything.

  40. Nothing agaisnt Smith he was banged up before season started and when he started to play wasnt 100%. Didnt really get to see how good he is. Think that stretch after the first bit where he played good is how good he really is. Then got banged up again. Same for Gilbert is like a Bicks. You cant play that way for 80 games, only 40, so you have to pick and choose.

    Teuvo is the one that makes things happen in playoffs when on a HHNL deep roster. Not Schmaltz or Leddy. They sit the pine the whole 3rd period and watch 86 strip the puck and set up 80. They watch 86 score a sneaky dirty bastrrd from the far wall when its least expected.

    Thise are the kind of goals we ll see from the Horsemen. Different.

  41. Shout out to Jimmy Lynch for Gilbert being 3rd D pairing guy. Gilbert will be essential to Hawks success next year. Tab-Lucic isn’t a good example…grit yeah but he did ok on a team full of grit guys. Hawks need Gilbert & just 2 grit-protector forwards to a group of skill players. PS- F!$K China!!!

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