Ranking the Prospects: Chicago’s Best Forwards

Teravainen Bergeron

Earlier, we looked at the top ten blue line prospects in the Blackhawks organization. It’s a good, deep group who could impact the Hawks’ NHL roster soon.

The same can be said for the group of talented forwards the Hawks have accumulated over the last few years. You’ll notice how many of the team’s top forward prospects will be playing college hockey this season, a trend the Hawks have continued throughout Stan Bowman’s tenure as general manager.

Let’s now rank the best forwards in the system.

First, two important notes about these rankings.

Kevin Hayes is not listed. Every indication is that, come August 15, Hayes will no longer be part of the Hawks’ organization. To waste our time discussing him at any length at this point seems to be worthless.

Secondly, we have also removed Jeremy Morin from the rankings. With a two-year, one-way contract signed, Morin appears to have done enough to earn a more regular role on the NHL roster. We’re certainly hoping that’s the case, because Morin is a skilled forward who could help the Hawks put pucks in the net.

Not ranked:

  • Matt Iacopelli – Muskegon (USHL) – 2014 Draft
  • Beau Starrett – South Shore (USPHL) – 2014 Draft
  • Maxim Shalunov – Rockford (AHL) – 2011 Draft
  • Anthony Louis – Miami (NCAA) – 2013 Draft
  • Drew LeBlanc – Rockford (AHL) – signed as free agent

15. Luke Johnson
5-11, 180
DOB: 09/19/1994
Draft: 2013 – 5th round (134th overall)
2013-14 Team: North Dakota

Last year as a freshman, Johnson scored eight goals and added 13 assists in 42 games at North Dakota. He’ll be on the same roster as 2014 first round pick Nick Schmaltz at North Dakota this coming season.

14. Chris Calnan
6-2, 200
DOB: 05/05/1994
Draft: 2012 – 3rd round (79th overall)
2013-14 Team: Boston College

Calnan was also a freshman playing college hockey last year, skating at Boston College. Jeremy Roenick’s nephew scored four goals and added nine assists in 37 games for the powerhouse Eagles last year.

13. Dennis Rasmussen
6-3, 201
DOB: 07/03/1990
Acquired: signed as free agent
2013-14 Team: Vaxjo (SHL)

Rasmussen, 24, will be a fascinating player to watch in Rockford this season. He was courted by a number of NHL teams after tying for ninth in the Swedish Hockey league with 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 52 games. He has good size and has been described as a strong defensive forward who’s good at the dot.

12. Alex Broadhurst
5-11, 175
DOB: 03/07/1993
Draft: 2011 – 7th round (199th overall)
2013-14 Team: Rockford (AHL)

Broadhurst, 21, finished third on the IceHogs with 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 75 games last year. Had ten multi-point games with Rockford last season.

11. Matt Carey
6-0, 195
DOB: 02/28/1992
Acquired: signed as a free agent
2013-14 Team: St. Lawrence (ECAC), Chicago (NHL)

Carey signed as a free agent after one good college season. The 22-year-old scored 18 goals and added 19 assists in 38 games before taking his game to the professional ranks. After signing with the Hawks, he appeared in two NHL games and scored a goal.

10. Tyler Motte
5-11, 185
DOB: 03/10/1995
Draft: 2013 – 4th round (121st overall)
2013-14 Team: Michigan (B1G)

Motte, 19, enjoyed a solid freshman year in Ann Arbor, posting nine goals and nine assists in 34 games with the Wolverines. Motte is one of four Hawks prospects (Schmaltz, Louis, Hayden) invited to USA Hockey’s Evaluation Camp for the upcoming World Junior Championships. Unfortunately, Motte did not attend this summer’s prospect camp.


9. Nick Schmaltz
6-2, 175
DOB: 02/23/1996
Draft: 2014 – 1st round (20th overall)
2013-14 Team: Green Bay (USHL)

The Blackhawks traded up to get Schmaltz in this summer’s draft. He led all scorers with five goals in five games at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament and his eight points were tied for second. He’s a skilled forward who will get time to develop at North Dakota.

8. Joakim Nordstrom
6-2, 181
DOB: 02/25/1992
Draft: 2010 – 3rd round (90th overall)
2013-14 Team(s): Rockford (AHL), Chicago (NHL)

Nordstrom was a bit of a surprise when he broke camp with the Hawks in October. He scored 17 goals and 16 assists in 58 games with the IceHogs and also contributed one goal and two assists in 16 games in the NHL. He saw action in seven postseason games with the Hawks and will be an option for a bottom-six role in Chicago this season. He did not attend this summer’s prospect camp.

7. John Hayden
6-3, 210
DOB: 02/28/1995
Draft: 2013 – 3rd round (74th overall)
2013-14 Team: Yale

Hayden is a big, strong forward who has been the best forward-not-named-Teuvo at the last two Blackhawks prospect camps. After a slow start at Yale last year, he finished with six goals and 10 assists in 33 games. Still a teenager, he uses his big body well.

6. Mark McNeill
6-1, 215
DOB: 02/22/1993
Draft: 2011 – 1st round (18th overall)
2013-14 Team: Rockford

McNeill will likely be the returning goal scorer in Rockford this season; he scored 18 and added 19 assists in 76 games in his first professional season in the AHL last year. Drafted as a center, McNeill is working primarily as a wing now.

5. Garret Ross
6-0, 182
DOB: 05/26/1992
Draft: 2012 – 5th round (159th overall)
2013-14 Team: Rockford

Ross, 22, was another player who impressed in his first professional season in Rockford last season. In 74 games, he scored 15 goals and added 19 assists for the IceHogs. Ross was a teammate of Brandon Saad’s in Saginaw in 2011-12, a season in which he piled up 54 points (25 goals and 29 assists) and 93 penalty minutes in 60 games.

4. Vince Hinostroza
5-9, 165
DOB: 04/23/1995
Draft: 2012 – 6th round (169th overall)
2013-14 Team: Notre Dame

He isn’t the biggest prospect in the system, but Hinostroza had one of the better freshman seasons in Hockey East last year. Despite missing six games, Hinostroza finished third on the Irish with 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists) in 36 games. He’s an exciting young forward who will head back to South Bend this year.

3. Ryan Hartman
5-11, 194
DOB: 09/20/1994
Draft: 2013 – 1st round (30th overall)
2013-14 Team(s): Plymouth (OHL), Rockford (AHL)

Hartman will play his first professional season in Rockford this year after an excellent final year in the OHL. He scored 25 goals with 28 assists in 52 games with Plymouth before joining the IceHogs for nine games; Hartman recorded seven points in those nine games in the AHL.

2. Phillip Danault
6-1, 200
DOB: 02/24/1993
Draft: 2011 – 1st round (26th overall)
2013-14 Team: Rockford

Danault scored six goals with 20 assists in Rockford last season. Selected in the same first round as McNeill, he has remained at center and projects to a role similar to what Marcus Kruger is playing in Chicago now.

1. Teuvo Teräväinen
5-11, 176
DOB: 09/11/1994
Draft: 2012 – 1st round (18th overall)
2013-14 Team(s): Jokerit (Liiga), Rockford (AHL), Chicago (NHL)

Teräväinen is one of the top play-making prospects in the NHL, and won’t be in Rockford for long. He’s added some size in the last year and was clearly the best player at this summer’s prospect camp.

ryan hartman

There is a lot of size, skill and grit in the system, all of which the Hawks will need in the coming years. With the contract extensions signed by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, this will be an important season for players like Danault, Hartman, McNeill and Ross to show that they are ready to make the jump to the NHL in the not-too-distant future.

50 thoughts on “Ranking the Prospects: Chicago’s Best Forwards

  • July 28, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Tab, Glad to see Hartman near the top of the list. This is a player to watch. The young man has a lot of skill and while not the fastest skater on the ice, he is quick to the puck, knows when to pass and when to shoot. I know that a point a game player in the OHL is not that uncommon, Hartman did just that on a pretty mediocre team. Like Saad, he is strong as an ox and like Shaw plays with an edge. He will be just 20 in Sept. He is not likely to make the roster out of camp, but he is my sleeper pick to be called up a lot for 14-15 season.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Don’t sleep on the MOOSE.

    The last two summers in Lake Placid, I had the luxury of watching Teuvo tear it up like no other has in yrs. Since Hayden didn’t play (with the full squad) in Lake Placid last summer, I am looking forward to see how does with usawj full squad next wk.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:12 am

    RasMOOSEn @ 13???? tis-tis!!!

    LeBlah even mentioned!!! laughable- I would rank Kyle Beech ahead of LeBlah!!! (and I know he is no longer in the Hawk’s system!!!)

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Hard to place Rasmussen on the list after… 4 days against college kids/teenagers… but I like him being in the system. Big body, good hockey sense, good two-way game. But, like I said, hard to rank him based on what we’ve seen.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Would ask the group if there is a real top line forward prospect anywhere in that group. Don’t think so. When the number 2 prospect is a replacement for Kruger, it seems rather lacking

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Will flip the question on hawkfacts:

    If you have Toews, Kane, Hossa & Sharp signed for the next 3+ years, Saad developing, and Teravainen hypothetically a 2C in his future… how many “top line forwards” do you need to develop?

    If Hartman fits a similar profile to Shaw with better offensive ability – and Shaw’s a 20-goal player – is that a bad thing? If Schmaltz has top-six playmaking ability but needs to develop physically and become a better two-way forward, does that mean the system is lacking? Rasmussen and Carey had plenty of suitors and chose Chicago.

    if the Hawks’ system “seems rather lacking,” I’ll remind you that there are at least 20 systems in the NHL – maybe 25 – that would LOVE to have the depth the Hawks have right now.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:31 am

    hawkfacts- Great point… that is why Danault- isn’t #2- at least in Talent… but might be #2 to break the Hawk’s lineup-based on not re-signing 16!!!

    TT, Schmaltz, Hino can potentially play top 6… but the latter 2 are still years away…
    Hayden/MOOSE- Maybe… BUT I totally catch your drift…

  • July 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Tab – Depth is wonderful and I wasn’t questioning the overall quality of the players or system. To answer your question, I need at least 2-3 to be studs on this list unless you think think these guys grow on trees. Also, Sharp/Hossa supremacy for the next 2-3 years seems dicey.

    In most analysis of prospects you read (like Hockey’s Future or Hockey Prospectus) – out of the top 50-60 forwards – the Hawks have 1—Teuvo. I don’t think it’s an unfair question to ask where the next potential star is coming from. If he’s 3 years away, fine but Toews, Kane and Saad were all 20 or younger when people knew they were gong to be studs. I’m just asking where that person is in the system.

    Finally, I said top line. I don’t see Teuvo as a top 3 forward. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him but name me another “small, nifty center” who is ranked in the top 10 at his position in the NHL. Other than Teuvo, I would package any 6 of these guys to get a top 2 pick in next year’s draft

  • July 28, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I believe the Hawks have the best overall organizational depth in at least the last 10 years…..maybe ever. And the only thing missing from “ever” is a stud kid goaltender.

    So whether the Hawks use the organizational depth to be Cap complaint or trade for players, Hawks are in GREAT shape.

  • July 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

    just a point to consider when hawkfacts is splitting hairs about “top line” – technically Patrick Kane doesn’t skate on the Hawks’ top line. Depth means everything; there are guys here who might be top line prospects in other organizations (ex: Ladd was 3rd line here, Captain in Winnipeg).

    Also, I wholeheartedly challenge the comments that “Sharp/Hossa supremacy for the next 2-3 years seems dicey.” Absolutely no reason to think there aren’t more than 2 years left in the tank for either of those players. Now… whether or not those seasons are in Chicago is a different story (esp in the case of Sharp).

  • July 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

    We have a loaded Farm (ranked 4th). We do not need top3/6 guys until Hoss retires & Saader is getting better every yr., by then… What we need/can use is a relentless supply of quality two-way players/65ers & that is what we have a lot of. Keep ’em coming Bowman.

  • July 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Tab – I wasn’t splitting hairs. I meant top line talent regardless of where they play. In 2&half years- Sharp will be 35 and Hossa 38. No matter how good they are or how many Cups they have won, that is old in the NHL. Hard to believe the Hawks will be Cup favorites if they are on our top two lines at that point. Out of the top 90 scorers in the NHL (over 50 pts), exactly “two” were 35 or older.

    Not to “split hairs” but Ladd would likely be the 2nd line center here now even with all this organizational depth.

    In 2&half years Toews, Kane, Saad and maybe Teuvo will be on the top 2 lines. Then who?

  • July 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Where did we get the stud players we have now? Free agency and drafting in the top 5 which I don’t see happening for the foreseeable future based on the fact that we keep making deep runs in the playoffs and are at the limit as far as the cap. So why complain about not having any “Studs” in the minors. Where we are drafting every year you’re going to get guys that need time to develope and that’s what they are doing. If I had to choose between competing for a cup or drafting studs I’ll take competing for the cup every time. I don’t see this team hurting for some major impact talent for quite some time. We have signed the two studs we got when we drafted high and while we may be against the cap I like what I see both in the NHL and in the minors.

  • July 28, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Tab, thanks – great information.

    To me, the only “seems rather lacking” is a Top Prospect in goal…? With Crawford strong in Chicago for the next few years, maybe that’s not a problem at this time.

  • July 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I do not understand the disagreement here. Hawkfacts said that there are no stars here, but there are some good players. Tab responded by saying “how many “top line forwards” do you need to develop?” That essentially validates his post. It does not appear that there are any blue chip prospects here outside of TT. That said, Tab’s point remains valid as well. The organizational need may not be to produce top line prospects. That may be true, but it is hard to say this is an elite crop of prospects without having those types of players. Effective, useful, sure. But I would have to go with hawkfacts here and say there arent too many guys one would miss.

  • July 28, 2014 at 11:05 am

    If you’re looking for a 35 goal scorer, there probably isn’t one on this list. If you’re looking for guys who could get you 20-25 on an annual basis, there might be a half dozen.

  • July 28, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Tab – “duh” – (sarcasm)

    I’ll make one last point then shut up. Look at the Kings roster – oldest forward is 32, defense about the same age as the Hawks. When Sharp is 35 and Hossa is 38 and even with our tremendous stable of bottom sixers, where exactly do the Hawks have the edge?

  • July 28, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Where exactly the Blackhawks have an edge in 2016-17 is… probably the salary cap.

    Today, the Blackhawks have $58.7M committed to 9 players for the 2016-17 season. The Kings have $47M committed to 8 players. So… roughly a $10M difference and one player… sounds pretty even, right?

    NOT included in those cap numbers are a few critical players.

    Chicago: Seabrook, Shaw, Smith, Kruger, Leddy
    Los Angeles: Kopitar, Stoll, Martinez, Williams

    In theory, all four of those Blackhawks players could affordably be replaced with internal options (Johns, Hartman, Danault, Clendening). However, while the Kings are high on a few of their prospects I don’t see there being a player in the Kings’ system who replaces Anze Kopitar… and every indication is that they would prefer to keep Stoll and Martinez. Yes, the Hawks still have to put a dollar amount on Saad’s deal, but the point is that the Hawks are in a position to begin turning guys like Shaw and Smith and Kruger into prospects/picks and moving potential replacements into their spots on the NHL roster over the coming years. This affords the team cap flexibility to add another good player in free agency if wanted/needed.

    It’s also worth pointing out that both Doughty & Voynov hit UFA in 2019. By that time, Doughty may be in line to double his current $7M cap hit.

  • July 28, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Yea, they used their farm/younger players & Johnson/1st to get the Philadelphia forwards, Gaborik, etc. over the past few yrs. Meanwhile we have been building layers of our foundation wall. We are build for long-erterm.

  • July 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hey Tab – they linked you in SI’s top line links for today

    :• Tab Bamford works out his list of the top forward prospects in the Blackhawks’ system. When Phillip Danault is ranked No. 2, it’s fair to say that there’s not a lot of high-end help on the way.

  • July 28, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    @ Hawkfacts

    Alan Muir is a Blackhawks hater so I wouldn’t put to much stock in what he says. That being said the Hawks forwards are very suspect and the Hawks defense is really the strength of the minors. There goaltending is a waste land. Outside of TT there isn’t a breakout star in the bunch. There are a few players however that I really really like. I think Rasmussen will play for the Hawks this season. He will be the camp surprise he’s much better then the rest of these prospects minus TT. If his defense is as good as I believe it is he starts the season on the westside not in RFD. I don’t think its really fair to have him on this list but there isn’t anywhere else to put him.

    I also really like Hartman and Hayden. I think Hayden will be a 2nd line NHL center eventually. I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually is the Hawks top prospect or top forward prospect, I think he has that much upside. Unfortunately he is 2/3 years out from making an impact for the Hawks. Hartman has a lot of upside too. He has a cockiness and confidence that should make him a top 6 NHL forward. If he leads RFD in goals I wouldn’t be surprised at all. If RFD ever skates TT, Moose and Hartman on their top line the Hogs should have a great season.

    I am down on Danault myself, after seeing him in person I was less then impressed. He is an excellent skater but he didn’t flash much offensive moves on the ice. I guess I was expecting ALOT more from a guy the Hawks drafted in the 1st round. I like your list Tab but I would probably move Hartman up and Danault down.

  • July 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    ?Beau Starrett is a guy to keep an eye on. Just like Garrett Ross came from no where Beau might another guy to watch raise up.

    Speaking of Ross I’ll be curious to see if he continues to progress. He’s a guy that has really taken is opportunities w the Hawks and built on it.

  • July 28, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    2 players I’m curious about-Clendening-see the last post on the previous article and Broadhurst-I saw him a fair bit in the “O” and liked his game-he’s ranked 12th-with Shaw, Hartman and Ross ahead of him it’s a tough path for an undersized guy with some skill and edge.
    What do you think Tab and guys that watch the AHL games?

  • July 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Guys- who could really surprise…

    Carey- has a serious Shot- ( a left handed Morin- Who could score 25g’s if he played top 2 lines)—– Waiting for a Rufus Eye roll!!!
    Hino- I have been mentioning since they drafted him- real shifty guy
    Luke Johnson and Tyler Motte – are both very sound players- (both will be better than Danault and McNeill)- so once again – Kudos to SB for realizing the College/USA talent that’s out there!!!

  • July 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Shalunov signed a contract in the KHL. Looks like the Hawks struck out on another Russkie.

  • July 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Jaimie Heyes leaving tells you all you need to know about the strength and character of the Hawks and their prospects. His future was in Rockford. He can go play third or fourth line in some cow town and be happy.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm


    Another one bites the dust.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Lists mean nothing, especially if everyone is selecting based on different criteria…there is no way that Danualt is the 2nd most talented prospect in the Hawk system, but I don’t think Tab is saying that…however, as a forward, Danault is certainly right there in terms of being ready to crack our jam packed lineup. Danault mentioned to everyone at the convention that Bowman has asked him to pattern his game after Kruger…read between the lines…Kruger has another year on his deal, Danault got his game close to NHL calibre after only one season in Rockford…ergo, the Hawks don’t resign Kruger and Danault takes his spot as the 4th line centre/premiere penalty killer with a new 2-3 year contract with a low Cap hit. Now, that might not sound sexy, but its damn valuable.

    There are a number of guys in the system (Hartman, Ross, McNeil) that are patterning their game along the lines of Andrew Shaw…Andrew Shaw has already won a SC…in his 1st full NHL season, he scored 20 goals, was a +12 and had 2 game winners…along with a ton of hits. He also took a puck to the face, and then continued to play bleeding all over the ice. If ANY of the kids in our system become another Andrew Shaw, then I think we are in pretty good shape.

    Most people seem to get a woody for “elite” talent…the fact is, other than the EDM Oilers of the ’80’s, teams win SCs with deep talent and character, oh and great goaltending…just look at the greatest Dynasty in NHL history, the Canadiens of the ’70s…they didn’t win because of Guy LaFleur, they won because of guys like Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson and Jacques LeMaire. Gainey was even selected to Team Canada to play against the Russians.

    So don’t worry so much about our “elite” talent. Toews isn’t elite because he scores 50 goals, he’s elite because he plays 2 way hockey as well as ANY NHL forward ever has. Saad is already a top 6 forward in just his 2nd season…TT will be a top 6 forward, I GUARANTEE it…I think Jeremy Morin will become a top 6 forward…Bickell is a top 6 forward, probably relegated to the 3rd line. Hartman could be a top 6 forward after a couple of NHL seasons…Matt Carey possesses top 6 attributes…and Schmaltz, Hayden and Hinostroza all show top 6 talent and skills.

    But to me, its the Garret Ross’, the Danault’s, the RasMOOSEn’s, and the Hartman’s that give me the most excitement because they are all guys that will do ANYTHING to win…and you know what, guys like that tend to win…and in my mind, Bowman has drafted for character as much as anything else during his time here, with a nice amount of raw talent thrown in…

    For me, take in Tab’s list and then add it to the group he presented with the DMen, and bask in how talented and deep the Hawks are…in another 2-3 seasons there will be at least 6-8 guys on the Hawks that could wear an “A”…that’s impressive.

  • July 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    The Hawks were absolutely justified taking Shalunov where they did…he flashed elite talent/size…it didn’t pan out…NEXT…

  • July 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Sr. Brad, your July 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm post pretty much nailed it.

    I hope Bickell finds consistency – I think he takes a few too many shifts off during the regular season. Morin has done pretty well in the very limited opportunity so far, but until Sharp moves (including to 3rd line?), Morin will not be a Top 6 forward.

    I’ve read a little (opinion) presented in Hockey’s Future or Hockey Prospectus and to me it seems off or they’re biased. I don’t see AHL or amateur games, so I can’t really evaluate, but a few friends here do and there is quite a difference of opinion. Based on what I’ve heard I choose to believe the Hawks system is good and deep (except in goal?)

    Can’t wait for October!

  • July 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Hawksfacts named Saad as a sure stud prospect. Yet he was a 2nd rounder (43rd overall)….and Saad scored 19 goals last year, but I agree I think he is a stud. I guess you can be a stud in the NHL without scoring 30 goals. Turns out their are many aspects to the game. Teravainen IS a top line quality player. Will he neccessarily be a Center, no he might be a wing but he will have a major impact on the game as he is a dynamic playmaker and a superb talent. Hayden is a very similar prospect to Saad in my opinion (with more size) He very well could be a top line/top 6 LW. If he “only” gets 20 goals- 30 assists like Saad does that mean he’s not a stud? Hartman & Schmaltz are 1st round talents that could be very good players a couple years from now. Hinostroza & Calnan showed great promise as freshmans in college, who knows where they will end up with further development. Add in guys like Rasmussen, Nordstrom, McNeil, Danault, and Carey who have a chance to be solid NHL regulars sooner than later and you have a solid mix of skill players/playmakers and role players … and that’s not even talking about our dmen prospects, three of which (Dahlbeck, Clendening, Johns) are stud prospects who are NHL ready.

  • July 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Sorry Sr.Brad but when you say the Canadiens won with role players you’ve just jumped the Shark.
    Ken Dryden, Jacques Lemaire, Serge Savard, Jacques Laperriere, Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey, Guy Lapointe, Steve Shutt, Larry Robinson.

    These were all the Canadien Hall of Famers that played on those teams so I think they were a little more than just “role” players.

    Also, not every 200 foot player is elite (that’s an insult to Toews) and if you think Morin and Bickell are top 6 players, whoa Nelly! When someone outside Chicago starts touting those other guys you mentioned I’ll get excited. A dozen “grinders” will not win a championship no matter how much character they have.

    I’m hoping for a dynastic team. The 4 in my lifetime have been the Canadiens, Islanders, Oilers and Red Wings. All had many, many great players (and yes role players too) but to sustain excellence you need excellence, otherwise you’re like the Bulls without Derrick Rose or maybe the St. Louis Blues – hardworking but always coming up short.

  • July 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    I like Bickell & Morin but im not buying their top forward status. Anyone can play top minute s but are they producing on a winning team. What makes the Hawks elite are their cornerstone players and HOF Coach. When this core has hung them up. 4 of them will be going into the HOF w Q.

    Sharps, Seabs, and Shaws are nice but elite talent hangs mulitple banners from the rafters!

  • July 29, 2014 at 1:37 am

    — it’s about a combination or balancing = each of the “dynasties” discussed had BOTH “stars” and “role players” and they would not have been successful without the combination of them. I’m not interested in arguing over the details – I’m elated that the Hawks seem to have the making of/ingredients for a “dynasty”. (The discussion omitted the Islanders…who in addition to Trottier, Bossy, Gillies, and Potvin, had Goring, Merrick, Billy Smith, Morrow, Langevin, Hart, Nystrom, et al…)

  • July 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    @Hawksfacts: This site has always been homer-tilted, so it should be no surprise that we Hawks aficionados get excited about the talent in the pipeline. As multi-cup winners there’s a basis for optimism, hope always springs eternal and there is nothing wrong with that!

    As for the “elite in the pipeline” thread, imo it’s moot to argue the issue at this point in time. The way I see it we HAVE “elite” talent locked up on the roster and projectable as maintaining their elite game for the next 5+ years (19, 88, 2.) That’s 3 “elite” players locked down. We also have “top-shelf” talent on the roster including Saad, 10, 81, 4 and 7, with the ability to move/replace as needed within the cap structure, and “quality” guys such as Bickell, Kruger, Shaw etc that are key role player pieces that have value and talent.

    My point? Now is not the time to be concerned with “elite” talent- you focus on complementing that talent when you have it. 5 years from now is when your pipeline will need to acquire such talent to replace the aging/departing 19/88/2.

  • July 29, 2014 at 8:31 am

    As Tab pointed out, a lot of teams would love to have what the Hawks have in the pipeline. The fact that we ARE WINNING and have a pipeline is awesome. “Elite” talent usually rises to the top quickly and doesn’t stay in the pipeline very long. The Hawks don’t have too many top spots open so it is more important for them to have developing talent. How many times have you seen elite draft choices wash out before they ever make it. We can go back and forth about potential but it’s just our opinions, some more educated than others. What we have in Chicago is an organIzation that we trust to keep the Hawks strong for years to come.

    It’s a great time to be a Hawks fan!!

  • July 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Hawksfan, you are funny, as I have noticed your “pattern”…you don’t actually READ anything that any one submits…you fire through it with a general understanding and then twist EVERYTHING to support your “facts”…but the fact is, you have none. I said that SC teams win without lots of ELITE talent…the Canadiens won all those Cups in a row, WITHOUT a ton of elite talent…they did it with a ton of good, high character guys, like we have…and if you don’t believe me, go have a discussion about this with Scotty Bowman (you know, the father of the guy who is attempting to create the same thing here???). Most of the Canadiens that you mentioned are NOT elite talents, they are in the HOF because all HOF’s are biased towards Champions. That Canadien team is “heavy” with HOF’ers because they won so many Cups in a row…and if you don’t believe that, go have a talk with Steve Larmer.

    This is a hockey blog site, everyone has the right to share their views…but don’t engage in questioning other people’s viewpoints when you don’t possess ANY hockey logic…just keep on making your comments and keep to yourself. And if you don’t think Bickell is a Top 6 forward, then you don’t understand hockey. Bickell has been the best LW forward over the last 2 SC playoffs, which is the only thing that matters. As for Morin, that is my opinion, and we shall see what happens…as for Toews, you don’t make any sense at all, again, because you aren’t really interested in hearing what anyone else says, child.

    SSHM, no one can say that Bickell isn’t a Top 6 forward…that’s what he has played during the last 2 playoffs, and was one of the best forwards during this time. You are judging Bicks based on last year’s regular season where he had to deal with TWO knee operations…one before the season started and one during the season. His LW performance with Toews and HOssa during these playoffs was, again, outstanding. Bicks is definitely a top 6 forward…he plays like one and he’s paid like one.

    During Bowmans’s reign here, our system has already produced “replacements” for the Hawks in Bryan Bickell, Corey Crawford, Antti Raanta, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger (all to great effect) with Jeremy Morin now in the fold and Klas Dahlbeck, Adam Clendening, and Stephen Johns all on the cusp. And while none of these guys has truly flashed elite numbers, at this point, would you trade Crawford, Saad, Bickell, Shaw or Smith? I wouldn’t…because you win championships with players like this.

  • July 29, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Sorry, Bowman also has Teuvo Terravanian knocking on the doorstep to that list as well…he also has former #1 pick Kevin Hayes set to walk out on us because Hayes has the perception that he will be behind a lot of players in our system, and might not get a shot with the NHL roster very soon…and this is a player that scouts, GMs and hockey writers are all calling a STUD prospect…a player that can’t miss (which I disagree with)…so I would say that Bowman has done a great job!

  • July 29, 2014 at 9:26 am


    Odds are good that 1st and 2nd overalls do usually end up being top sixers. Sometimes they never make it past season one. But drafting good depth finds diamonds, a lot. The more good mines you dig the better chance of finding that superstar.

    Here is a short list of names you may recognize and rounds where they were picked :

    Brett Hull 6th, Luc Robitaille 9th, Pavol Demitra 9th, Theo Fluery 8th, Daniel Alfredsson 6th, Rick Tocchet 6th, Jarri Kurri 4th, Nick Lidstrom 3rd, Mark Messier 3rd, Mark Recchi 4th, Sergei Federov 4th, Henrik Zetterberg 8th, Pavel Datsyuk 6th, Doug Gilmore 7th, Dan Boyle undrafted, Marty St. Louis undrafted. And some goalies to boot: Henrik Lundqvist #205, Domenik Hasek #207 (10th round). Take a look a those names, most of them are on cups.

    Sure, getting a #1 or #2 is usually a solid NHL top six and probably a star. But in the cap era, how many stars can you afford? The key is rolling through those better than average depth picks, chosen at the right value. If they become a Pavel Datsyuk or Nick Lidstrom then pay them. If not, trade them and bring the next “above average” young blood in. Over the next 8 years of 19/88 this farm system is set up to have great odds in finding a diamond or two to follow in their footsteps.

  • July 29, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Sr Brad – I’ll forget the personal insults but your personal observations are just like mine – opinions, no better no worse. But your perceptions of the Canadiens show your ignorance
    LaFleur, Dryden, Robinson are consensus top 5 all-time at their positions but what about the rest of these “role” players you say made the HOF because of their SC’s.
    Jacques Lemaire – point a game scorer, 20+ goals for 12 straight seasons, hardest slap shot of his time
    Serge Savard – Conn Smyth winner, 4 time all star, ranked 81st on the Hockey News all time greatest players
    Jacques Laperriere – Rookie of the year, Norris trophy winner, only defenseman ever with a plus/minus to ever beat Orr in a season
    Bob Gainey – 4 time Selke winner (you know, the one Toews won), Conn Smyth winner, ranked 86th greatest all time
    Guy Lapointe – .67 pts a game as a defensemen, Selected for ’72 summit series as a 23 year old, scored over 20 goals 3 times
    Steve Shutt – Pt a game scorer, Scored over 30 goals in nine straight seasons & over 60 one year
    And no, I haven’t talked to Scotty Bowman but I was proud to have had John Ferguson as a friend & he introduced me to Sam Pollock one evening

    As for the rest, just like this post by Tab – it’s all speculation by all of us

  • July 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Its funny to have this discussion comparing the Canadiens teams of that era to today’s hawks. Funny in that it is nearly impossible to imitate what those teams did with the salary cap. To even have the discussion is damn impressive.

  • July 29, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Pavel Datsyuk in the 6th round…grand larceny

    I really don’t know what there is to complain about. You cannot have 12 top six forwards…four lines of all offense would not work either. #1) I think, but could be mistaken, that Tab did a list 3-4 offseasons ago and had to stop at a top 5 prospect list. The depth that Bowman is acquiring is scary. #2) A team needs all types of players, two forwards, defense first forwards, offense first, etc…How many offense first players do you need in the minors. Sharp and Hossa…then Toews and Kane, then Saad. The Blackhawks are so fortunate that they have players who can rotate into the top 6 and then also that the other “top 6” players can damn near play with anyone (except the 2013-14 version of Zus). Our organizational depth is fine. Great work Tab.

  • July 29, 2014 at 10:34 am

    They are not insults, they are insights if you choose to listen…I did not include the Flower into the group of good, character players…somehow you did…and no matter that you talked to a poor player and horrible GM in Ferguson, it doesn’t help to change the fact that Savard, Robinson, Gainey, LeMaire, LaPerriere, etc were NOT elite talents…they were good/very good players who did the little things well. like blocking shots…they all had great character…now talk about something else! How about Matt Carey? Good size, good speed, a canon for a shot, and a nose for the net…does Carey have a shot at the team sometime this year, or perhaps out of next camp? Bowman has brought in as Negzz would say, top shelf talent.

    BTW, excellent post Negzz, and so true…

  • July 29, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Great post Just a Fan/Peter…the history of drafting in the NHL is very clear…there are a number of top players found in every draft late…you just need to have patience in finding them and developing them. Scotty Bowman has been around a number of these picks, and types of players…he knows that allowing kids to build up their self confidence and work out their kinks BEFORE they hit the NHL on a night in, night out basis can have demonstrative effects. The Hawks are in this position…we not only can afford to wait, we HAVE to wait. This is why I am a big fan of drafting kids who choose to go through the College system. All these collegiate programs take weight training and strength development very seriously…by the time we get these “kids” they are men and usually ready to adapt to the NHL game quite quickly.

    I think Rockford has a team that is going to make the playoffs this season, with or without TT. If Scott Darling can provide stability in net, the Hogs might have a top 4 team in the AHL…and look at the kids set to graduate college or matriculate to the Hogs the following year!!! The Hogs are set to become a dominate AHL team for a while.

  • July 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    If Kevin Hayes did sign with the Hawks, where would he fit on the list above? Top 3? Potential top 9 player? I’ve read he has good size but he also played on the best college line in recent memory.

  • July 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I would put Robinson in the elite list (Orr in a different stratosphere) somewhere behind a Harvey, Bourque and a Lidstrom.
    6 ft. 5, with a mean streak and could skate/shoot very well.
    Hawkfacts-Lemaire harder slap shot than Mr. Hull-say it ain’t so. Us older guys saw them both.

  • July 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    IF Kevin Hayes signed w/ the Hawks, he might be #2 on my list. More physically mature that Danault, but projects more as a RW3 than a center

  • July 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    While it’s fun to speculate on how players will turn out, that’s all it is – speculation. Even professional scouts mess up, and more often than not. As others have mentioned, great players come out of later rounds and sometimes even the top picks work out. You just never know. Look no farther than the Oilers. In the last 6 drafts they’ve had three number ones and are they not even close to making the playoffs. Luck, skill, depth all go into making a SC winner. The “studs” drafted by the Oilers aren’t getting them out of the basement any time soon.

  • July 30, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I don’t think it matters how the Hawks prospect pool compares with other teams, whether there are “x” number of top-6 forwards and top-4 d-men, or how the Hawks team compares with past pre-salary cap dynasties. What matters is whether the Hawks have prospects that can matriculate to the NHL to keep the Hawks at an elite level – when those prospects are needed, and in my opinion they do. The Hawks currently have an advantage many other teams don’t have because they have an elite core group that for the most part will continue to be elite level for the foreseeable future and consequently they don’t need their prospects to be elite – they just need to be good enough to complement the core group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *