Blackhawks Rookie Class Central Division’s Best

The Blackhawks have been a daunting proposition for the rest of the division for nine years now, led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Over the seven 82-game seasons beginning with 2009-10 (excluding the 2013 season), the Hawks have posted 100 points six times.

However, the salary cap has forced every organization to evolve quickly. From the 2009-10 season to today, the only players on the roster every night have been Toews, Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Three forwards, three defensemen. Everything other spot on the roster has turned over, in many cases more than twice.

Without a high draft pick – the Hawks haven’t picked better than 18th since 2008 –  Chicago’s front office has needed to draft well and develop players to continually replace veterans leaving via free agency or trade – all while moving prospects and picks to sustain the current level of excellence at the NHL level.

This season, there were early growing pains for the Blackhawks as coach Joel Quenneville was tasked with moving a significant number of young players into the lineup. But now that we’re in the home stretch of the 2016-17 season, it has become clear that the talent evaluation in Chicago continues to be among the best in the league.

And the rest of the Central Division has once again been put on notice that, even with expensive veteran players, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t going anywhere.

Indeed, even with Calder Trophy candidate Patrik Laine having an incredible season in Winnipeg, the Blackhawks have received the most production from rookies in the Central Division. Here’s the season-to-date production from rookie classes across the Central (entering Wednesday night’s games):

*Note: Laine has 60 of Winnipeg’s 87 points by himself.

The Blackhawks have seen seven rookies put a point on the board this season, a number matched only by Dallas in the division.

In the Central, only four players in the division not-named-Laine have reached 20 points on the year. Two of them – Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz – are Blackhawks.

Winnipeg and Dallas have two rookies who have even reached double-digit point totals this season. Nashville and Colorado have only one. St. Louis and Minnesota don’t have a double-digit point producing rookie yet. Chicago has four (Hartman, Schmaltz, Tanner Kero and Vinnie Hinostroza). And John Hayden, with three points in four games, might become a fifth.

Looking forward, the Blackhawks will have these rookies around for at least a couple years and have more talented scoring coming in talented prospects like Alex DeBrincat.

The point: good luck, Central Division. The best in the West have reloaded and have a future as bright as any in the division.

15 thoughts on “Blackhawks Rookie Class Central Division’s Best

  • March 23, 2017 at 7:55 am

    We are truly blessed to be fans of this team.

  • March 23, 2017 at 10:01 am

    The emergence of Hartman, Panik and Schmalz is the lead story for the Hawks success this year IMO. Assuming we keep these three for the next few years along with either Campbell or Oduya puts us in great shape to continue to contend. The outlook is much brighter than it was at the start of the year. Look no further than the Kings to see how hard it is to re-tool on the fly as the Hawks have done once again. Amazing job by SB, the scouting staff and the coaching staff.

  • March 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

    There was a stat floating around recently that the Hawks have had 7 rookies get their first NHL goal this season (Schmaltz, Hartman, Hayden, Hinostroza, Kempny, Motte, Forsling ) which bodes well for the future. But, the Hawks also had 7 rookies get their first NHL goal last season too (Panarin, TvR, Rasmussen, Kero, Svedberg, Danault, Mashinter). Now obviously not all of the 14 players are going to be contributors on the Hawks moving forward but it shows (1) the Hawks have auditioned a lot of young players the last 2 seasons dispelling the myth that Q doesn’t like to play young players, and (2) they’ve had enough good players in their system to warrant an NHL audition. That’s a testament to the Hawks organization for drafting well and finding/signing these players through free agency.

    Of those 14 players, five of them have established themselves as starters in the NHL – Panarin, Hartman, Schmaltz, TvR, Danault, three of them are playing on a fairly regular basis and will probably be established starters next season – Hayden, Kempny, Kero, three of them are border line good enough to be spot starters – Hinostroza, Rasmussen, Motte, and one is almost assured to be a starter after another year of two of development – Forsling. That’s 12 of those 14 players with only Svedberg and Mashinter not true NHL caliber players.

  • March 23, 2017 at 10:42 am

    With Kempny not under contract for next year I would think returning to Europe could be a real possibility, considering the year he had this year.

  • March 23, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I don’t understand this idea that Kempny may be disgruntled by a lack of playing and therefore choose to not re-sign with the Hawks. I mean, it might be true but unless there is some evidence to suggest it is true I think it’s an unfounded assumption. He’s played in 2/3 (48 of 72) of the games so it’s not like he hasn’t played a lot. Plus he’s made improvements through the season so it’s not like this season has been a waste of time for him. The reality is that he plays only on the left side and he’s not going to replace Keith or Oduya and Q prefers Campbell’s experience heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.

    Oduya and Campbell may not even be with the Hawks next season so he would be the odds on favorite to fill one of those LD positions.

    It’s just all speculation on my part too – so who knows? It’s not something I’m overly concerned about though.

  • March 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

    It’s actually 8 rookies to score a point. 7 players with their first nhl goal.

    Schmaltz,Hartman,Kero, Hinostroza, Kempny, Forsling, Motte, Hayden.

  • March 23, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    The acquisition and health of Oduya has put Kempny in the press box. Kempny may actually be better. But after that pass the other night, he’s just not trusted yet. Trust and fit are the biggest thing going against him. He was playing with Seabrook or Rozsival the last 10 games. Do you want Seabrook and Kempny…or Seabrook and Keith or Oduya.

    He’s a pro. He knows what’s going on. He can’t go anywhere but Europe. And I don’t think he does that.

  • March 23, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Kempny- is a stud… and is playing much better than earlier in year… still making mistakes- but still much better than earlier… so that is the Positive… agreed- he probably stays w/ Hawks and “learns” what Q/system wants… At this point- Opposite Player of TvR… 6 is stronger/faster/ Panics a little quicker… TvR is “stick-first” guy… who makes a lot of good reads/positions well- and is Rosey-like in his calmness with the puck (which sometimes gets him into trouble)… easy to see why Q loves TvR- and has short leash with Kempny…

    At end of day- Kempny is improving/and still learning… with lots of Physical assets… If he can check his ego- and look at the success of others in the system (some with less talent)… he should realize the Hawks/Q are a good place to be and get educated.

  • March 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Not all of it is great scouting. Let’s not minimize the fact that there is great leadership in that locker room, starting of course with Toews. Nothing is expected of the rookies except their best, created by a winning culture.

  • March 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    1stTab nice article.

    Here are a few of my thoughts, the Hawks have just scouted better then alot of teams. and they, like the Wings from last decade, let their kids develop in the minors. The Kids in Rockford play similar to how the Hawks play.

    As for Kempny. Q is very demanding on his Dmen having been a “journeyman” NHL defensemen himself. He knows the position. Kempny will have his chance next season when Oduya(contract), Campbell(contract), and TVR(expansion) may all be gone. Kempny has looked good at times and lost at others. He is as advertised a 3rd or 4th Dman. The Hawks will likely have Pokka, Forsling and Kempny all up next season.

    The more I hear about Alex Debrincat the more I think he might be a real “something”. If the Hawks hit on him too WOW!

  • March 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Were are going to get better/deeper each yr for the coming yrs at FW. Every core guy is at the highest caphit they will be at in their careers so we will be able to do the raises of the young guys as we go along. Also salary cap goes up to 75.5/76 or 76.6 with full 5% escalator 51 or 27 can come back/maybe both. Whatever we do you know our organization is going to make it beauty. Window. Window? The Calvary is coming.

  • March 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    if think the above is pretty optimistic Mo-(and I love your optimism)
    This team was built on a unique core of 5 to 7 very talented, driven players with nice leadership.
    I’m not saying they don’t have 2 or 3 more years left in the window, for lack of a better term but unless they get a remarkable forward or two and another Keith?, this isn;t long term. (We have at least 4 Hall of Famers who came together at the right time, at the right age-the product of some luck, good work by the organization and a really bad spell)
    Toews as mentioned above deserves much credit and one of the most gifted offensive players ever in 88.
    If Toronto can find a 1 and 2 d-man somehow they could be next-it is just the way it goes–(Edmonton, maybe?)
    So here is hoping this year goes well, and with some luck we can get 4-which is amazing in a cap world with 30 plus teams.

  • March 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Amazing that the clown Wall has the nerve to post on this! Check out what this clown had to say about the hawks rookie class!

    October 13, 2016 at 7:40 am
    This team is NOT gonna score much… cuz rookies are average 4th liners…
    I did like Kempny and Forsling will improve… But even by some miracle the Hawks make PO’s… they will be a boring “D” oriented type of team…

  • March 25, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Didn’t Gustafson score his 1st NHL goal as well last season?

  • March 25, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Think Gustafson had assists only

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