Will The Blackhawks #FreeHayes?


Now that the Blackhawks annual prospect camp and fan convention are both in the rear view mirror, the next date on the calendar for Hawks fans is in less than four weeks.

Kevin Hayes, the team’s first round draft pick in 2010, has 25 days left until he becomes a free agent. And all indications are that the Hawks will be receiving a second round compensation pick when the Boston College grad walks away from the organization that selected him four summers ago.

The legend of Kevin Hayes is growing every day. When he becomes a free agent on August 15, it appears most of the Eastern Conference will be in line to offer him a two-year, entry-level contract. Unfortunately, as Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir pointed out, the Blackhawks appear to be losing their “prized prospect.”

Hayes SI

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty said Hayes’ home town Bruins should keep an eye on Hayes, while Larry Brooks at the New York Post took it a step further, elevating Hayes to “stud” status recently.

Hayes NYP

While these headlines, and the possibility of losing a 6-3, 210-pound Hobey Baker nominee, could easily lead some Blackhawks fans to a bottle of Xanax, let’s not forget where we were one short year ago.

Hayes SBN

The younger Hayes was highly touted when he arrived at Boston College, following his older brother Jimmy. But his first three seasons left a lot to be desired.

Through 102 games over three seasons, Hayes produced only 17 goals and 50 assists with 32 penalty minutes. His junior year ended with a lot of questions in the wake of his suspension and a subsequent injury that required surgery.

Fast forward a few months to his senior year, and Hayes found himself on a line with 2014 Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold. Suddenly, Hayes looked like the power forward the Hawks drafted in 2010, and the best line in college hockey dominated throughout the season. Hayes scored 27 goals and added 38 assists in 40 games his senior year to elevate himself into the “prized” “stud” he is today.

Immediately following their season’s end, Gaudreau and Arnold signed with the Calgary Flames. Both played in one game at the end of the NHL regular season, and Gaudreau scored his first professional goal.

Meanwhile, Hayes sits and waits.

If/When he becomes a free agent on August 15, the Blackhawks will walk away with the 54th overall selection in the 2015 Draft as compensation. Hayes will find a home with an organization that hasn’t won two Cups in the last five years, but apparently that’s what he wants.

During the season, Hayes tweeted #FreePirri and #FreeMorin, chiming in on the pleads of Hawks fans to see a couple of the team’s top prospects getting regular minutes at the United Center. Now it appears we’re 25 days away from #FreeHayes becoming a reality.

55 thoughts on “Will The Blackhawks #FreeHayes?

  • July 21, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Thanks Tab – good information.

    If Hayes doesn’t want to play in Chicago, “Best Wishes” and “Good Luck” to him. The 54th overall selection in the 2015 Draft might turn out to be fair value.

  • July 21, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I secretly hope that he signs with the Hawks and they bury him in the ECHL for 2 years. Guy needs a reality check after one good season while playing next to one of the most dynamic players in college. He has great vision, but he makes Brandon Pirri look like Viktor Stalberg when it comes to skating.

    Also, who wants to talk about how much of a hilarious disaster the Avs front office is?

  • July 21, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Too much drama for me. I’ll be happy on August 15th when this can be filed in the dustbin of history.

  • July 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

    If he is such a “stud”, why is he reluctant to sign with the hawks? Is he afraid he won’t make the team, or will be buried in the minors?

    Seems odd that a college kid thinks he knows more than a 2-time Stanley Cup winning coach… It also seems that he wants an easy path to the NHL.

    Maybe he’s not such a “stud” after all?

    Glad to see him go.

  • July 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I do think Hayes has all the talent he needs to make a roster (even the Hawks). I mean heck, If the hawks REALLY wanted to, they could have Kruger play the 3C, and fit Hayes in as the 4C this year even.

    But, Stan and Q have their M.O.’s ahead of them, and would rather use tested players like Smith/Regin/Shaw and let Hayes grow in the AHL. Some teams prefer to “test their young players”. Bowman prefers players who ware already tried in the AHL and “for sure ready”. Now, Im not calling Hayes an “stud” or an “all-Star”, but when he’s got his head on straight, the kid can play. He knows it and wants to show that talent off.

    To be honest, part of it is probably Jimmy’s career. Jimmy hasn’t gotten a “pay day” (and i believe currently unsigned by FLA). Kevin probably looks at his brother and says to himself… “i better crack a roster as soon as possible… show i deserve a pay day and cash in for what I can when I can”. Its selfish and probably means he cares more about playing hockey as only a means to an end vs being seen as a leader/cornerstone/loyal player (Carmelo Syndrome… give me my money, i dont care about championships).

    Most players dont get a pay day. There are talented kids that go in the AHL, and never make it. He didnt want to waste 2 years in the AHL, and risk never playing in the NHL in that time. Thus in 2 years, when due for a contract, he wouldn’t get anything over 1M per.

    I can understand wanting to make money… who am I to tell a kid not to go try to get paid when he can. But like I said… its selfish, and it might get him into more trouble than its worth.

  • July 21, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Now that Stan as evaluated the all the prospects last week I expect him to trade a roster player and add Hayes rights as a sweetener. I dont think Stan will let him sign else where but will trade his rights instead.

    The Hawks minor league is stocked. I think if Hayes signs he is 2nd string in Rockford. Ryan Hartman is very good and I doubt Hayes beats him out.

    Keep an eye on Andreas Soderberg hes another Hawks defensive prospect. He impressed the heck out of me on Friday @ the camp.

  • July 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Tim, you are correct, J Hayes remains unsigned. That doesn’t really mean much at this particular moment. We will see.

    SSHM I too think SB will “try” to trade K Hayes rights. That said, 54th pick (Who decides that anyway?) in a deep draft is not the end of the world.

    Bottom Line: After all that has been said, how does K Hayes sign with the Hawks? I don’t think he has many friends in Chicago or Rockford.

  • July 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    JS, don’t talk bad about the ECHL. I love that league. EVERY player has a chip on his shoulder. K Hayes would get eaten alive in the ECHL.

  • July 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Kevin Hayes is a sadly misguided fool. Just put this whole thing in the rearview mirror. The Hawks already moved on. Now we just need the formality of the paperwork to happen.

    I’ll say this…if Bowman and his staff saw something special in Hayes in their current assessments, then they would have gotten “creative” to get a deal done. The fact that they have had an emotionless response to this whole thing tells me everything I need to know about the probable professional hockey future of Mr. Hayes.

    Good riddance. The kid needs his comuppance, and it will come soon enough I am sure.

  • July 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Mike- not trying to talk bad about the league, just agreeing that he would be eaten alive there and that asshat could probably use it.

  • July 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I hope the Hawks sign Hayes and do what they have to in order to get it done. I keep wondering if Q’s handling of younger players and their development is the issue here. Hawks fans should be wondering about that issue and stop attacking Hayes.

  • July 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm


    I don’t think Hayes signing has anything to do with Q what-so-ever. I think its more about Kevin getting to the NHL and cashing in NHL paycheck. If he signs here he’s getting bottom 6 at best and that NHL paycheck probably isn’t coming. With Versteeg still here and Morin newly signed Hayes isn’t playing on the Hawks anytime soon. Plus I’m also guessing he is behind McNeil and Hartman too. Hayes is 24 years old and doesn’t have a lot of NHL time left.

    I’m curious to see if he can play. I think he is an NHL player but not a very good one, and not a guy that’s got much of a chance to crack this lineup. I never thought Renee Bourque was any good and 560 NHL games later he’s still in the league.

  • July 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I would wonder about “Q’s handling of younger players” too if there weren’t 2 Stanley Cup Championships on his resume…

    Time will tell whether or not those players (that didn’t make the hawks roster) make an impact somewhere in the NHL.

    Coach Q seems to have gotten it right with several prospects who are now making an impact and keeping the hawks very competitive.

  • July 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Pete, it is hard not to put some of this difficulty on Hayes. By entering the draft he is voluntary property of a professional organization. An organization that thought enough about him to use their most valuable pick on him. An organization patient enough to allow him the experience of a full 4 year college education (and degree) while holding a spot for him. In return Hayes had the obligation to play hockey and keep his trap shut. If Hayes had said nothing and does not want to be a Hawk he could have accomplished that at the negotiation table. At that point we would blame the Hawks for not getting him done. Instead, Hayes goes into the negotiation already sending bad vibes. Can hardly blame the Hawks for playing hardball. If he were my kid I’d give him a good kick in the butt.

    When I think about this Hayes situation, it reminds me of what a friend once told me. He coached HS baseball for 30 years, ran a great program, many major league players over that span. Loved the kid, loved the game. He quit a few years back even though he was in his early 50s. Asked him why. He said, players and parents used to feel honored to play for him. But now, parents and players think he should be honored that they are willing to play for him. A lot has happened to youth sports over the last 40 years

  • July 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    The kid is a good hockey player…when he plays alongside excellent hockey players. Watching some of his college games he was not THE guy that made things happen but was good enough to HELP make things happen. He knows it. There are boatloads of prospects that cannot even do that. So I do like the guy as a Hawk.

    That said, the Hawks do have other prospects, willing to work for an opportunity, that can be equally good or better if they play alongside excellent players. And there are plenty of teams out there, without roster depth, that will give him a shot alongside side other good to excellent players immediately. So he has a better chance at a career in the NHL with another team. With the Hawks, he won’t get that chance right away, he would have to earn it. And I believe he thinks having to earn it will not help his standing in the ranks of the prospects the Hawks have.

    I would love for him to wear the Indianhead, but it seems he doesn’t have that belief in himself and is not willing to work on his limitations. He knows who he is and what his limitations are now, and apparently is fine with that being his top level of development. Bottom line, those are not the type of players the Hawks want. They want guys that are humble and hungry to improve every day.

    Kevin, you can be good enough to wear a Hawks sweater, just have confidence in yourself and work for it. So don’t blow your best chance to actually have your name on The Cup. 15 years from now you may regret having chosen to leave this organIzation.

  • July 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    As I said last week, regardless of what anyone wants to say or speculate, the Hawks CONTROL this situation, not Hayes. Kevin may very well want guarantees that he will be given a roster spot within one year, or whatever, but that simply isn’t how hockey organizations are run…at least in cities that win.

    If the Hawks believed in the surety of Haye’s game, he would be signed…its that simple…regardless of what he was asking. But the Hawks CLEARLY feel like his is NOT can’t miss talent, and will need time in Rockford to work on his game and determine if he can be a top 6 NHL forward…because if he’s not going to play at that skilled level, then we already have 20 Kevin Hayes throughout the organization. So as for any “fear” involved that we are letting a STUD getaway, I have none. Hayes may very well become a good NHL player, but he will need time…the Hawks have the top hockey organization and believe me, they can tell if a player is ready for the NHL right now, or isn’t.

    Remember, this is the organization (and I mean Bowman and his crew, not Q and the coaches) that stuck their necks out on the line with bold comments about Kruger, Shaw and Saad, and now TT…and they were incredibly right on each call…and if you are wondering about TT, don’t…my wife and I flew to CHI for Friday/Saturday to take in the last camp day and then a day and a half of the convention…if TT is willing play in the NHL at the speed he was flying around the ice with Friday, he is a sure thing. I haven’t witnessed a combination of that much speed, intelligence, skill, and awareness since, EVER! The only question for TT is his size and toughness…some players won’t skate full speed in the NHL for fear of being nailed, as it puts them in “harms way”, but I talked with TT on Saturday and he seems certain that he can and will play at that speed come camp and in the NHL…and if he does, 2nd line Centre problem solved.

    Bowman and company are the same group that held back on Mark McNeil and Phillip Danault when others from that draft class sprinted ahead of them…Bowman took a lot of negative press for McNeil and Danault’s slow progress…but they were right to “hold them back”…they weren’t and still aren’t ready…but they are getting closer. If Bowman KNEW that Kevin Hayes was a sure thing and would contribute at some point this season, he would have made the deal by now with Hayes.

    The best thing for the Hawks right now IS all this press…if Bowman can drum up enough support for a “stud like Hayes” then he might be able to trade him off for more than an end of the 2nd round pick.

  • July 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t like the stance that Hayes is taking like most. However, I do think that if the Hawks want to keep contending for years to come while having 30% of the team’s salary invested in 2 superstars they need to be bolder about implementing more of the prospects. Having Jeremy Morin sit while Bollig played in the playoffs is pathetic. The bottom third of the roster will have to be kids and we can’t get away with letting quality talent go for peanuts much longer. Kevin Hayes has a good chance at being a top 6 power forward and he’s walking because Q is afraid to play kids over has beens like Handzus etc.

  • July 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    @Brad, Who did you feel stood out at the prospect camp? (other than TT.) I’ve read Hayden looked very good as did McNeil and a defenseman or 2.. Any insight from 1st person?

  • July 21, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    re: Negzz – the 2 non-Rockford guys I feel really positioned themselves well at camp were Hayden & Paliotta. I’ve liked both of them – & Hinostroza – on the collegiate circuit for the last year and hope they take another step forward this season.

  • July 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    re: Brad’s assertion that the Blackhawks completely own control in the Hayes situation – not true. if the player doesn’t want to be here, he has every right to wait 25 more days and sign wherever he wants. And, with that in mind, he has every right to put teams on notice that he won’t sign w/ them if he’s traded to them, either. The odds that the Hawks trade Hayes by himself are <5% before Aug 15.

  • July 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    @Tab- Would be great to see Mike Paliotta continue to impress. He grew up in my area, have followed him a bit and like his size and attitude on the ice. What did you like about his game at camp? Is he heading back to UVM and is he another 4-year college player in your opinion? Also like Hino’s game, feisty and unrelenting.. Are you going to do a Prospect Camp “Summary”? would love to read it…

    Re JHayes and the 4-year rules, can’t really blame Hayes or any other player that has leverage after 4 years in school to use the rules to their advantage. Seems the big disagreement is SB doesn’t see him as the same type of “special” the hayes camp does. Fine by me and will be content with the 54th pick and move on (and will wish him good luck personally..)..

  • July 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Hayden’s another CT kid, I’m going to take my 17 year old to watch him a few times up the road at Yale this year. Heard he had 2 goals and 2 fights in a scrimmage game?! Good work ethic and hard nosed kid from those I’ve talked to…

  • July 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm


    I was also at the camp and got to see 1st hand all the Hawks best prospects battling it out. As for the practice/game here are my take aways:

    Red Team 6-White Team 2
    Clendening was out DNP, he was one player I really wanted to see 1st hand.

    Red Team

    TT- Rasmussen-Hartman (Defense) Soderberg Robin Norell

    TT: during the practice drills I thought he dogged it slightly. Was the last guy to finish a few drills and wasn’t skating at max effort during some of the individual drills. However in the rookie game his vision and passing was excellent. Worked well w Rasmussen and set him up for the Red’s 2nd goal. He has a quick release on his shot but always looks to pass first. Is a smooth skater and outskated Garrett Ross & Hino during the rookie game. TT Was noticeable every time he on the ice.

    Dennis Rasmussen: Will Challenge for the Hawks roster now! He centered the 1st line of the practice game and flat out dominated for the red team. He went up against Hino and Danault and outworked and outskated both of them. Is a natural center, and plays a 200 ft game. Has a big body and physical strong skater, he isn’t a burner but is a long strider on skates. Doesn’t remind me of ANYONE on the current Hawks roster. He took all the draws and centered TT and Hartman the entire time. Could be a top 6 center eventually has that much potential IMO.

    Hartman: Excellent shot, fast release and heavy shot that the goalies seemed to have trouble with. Is a “max effort guy” which is the reason people are comparing him to Shaw. IMO has more offensive touch then Shaw and is a shooter. Should probably be a 1st liner in Rockford.

    These 3 forwards dominated on the ice for the Red team and might all be in Rockford on the same line to start the AHL season.

    Andreas Soderberg: Big strong skating d-man, quick lateral movements in drills. Scored the final goal on a nice 50ft shot off Kent Simpson. Was a player that “jumped out” to me on the ice because of his size and presence. Did an excellent job of advancing the puck in the attacking zone. I am not sure about his current contract but I would not be surprised to see him in Rockford this season. Looks the part of an NHL defenseman right now.

    Robin Norell is a smaller d-man with good passing ability, very similar to Nick Leddy early in his career. He will need to bulk up to play in the NHL but showed alot of promise.

    Other Red players

    John Hayden, didn’t dominate today has many in the media have been saying over the last few days. However is a big and physical player w a nice shot. Delivered a nice check to Johns at the far boards. Good skater and passer reminds me a lot of Troy Brouwer. At 20 was one of the better prospects on the ice and centered the 2nd line for the Red team. Was flanked by Anthony Louis and Schmaltz.

    Schmaltz, the scouting report is accurate on him flashes and disappears. Will make a good play and then disappears for a few shifts. Had good instincts around the net and buried a goal from the slot and had nice shots and chances in team drills. Has a ton of upside if he can put it all together, still young and probably 3/4 year out from impacting the Hawks.

    Anthony Louis: small, got erased from several plays by white defense. At 5-6 its going to be hard to make an NHL roster. Can’t wait for the season to start!

  • July 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I’m sure he will find a nice stairwell to land in

  • July 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Anyone who doesn’t? want to be a Blackhawk is a Flatlander.

  • July 21, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Brad or Tab- Re: TT @ camp Friday… did he scrimmage? Who were his linemates???
    And how did his line look?


  • July 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    “Completely own control”…what? I said, correctly, that the Hawks control the situation with Hayes, because if they believed in his talent to be ready now, they would have signed him already…teams simply don’t let elite talent walk out of town over demands and ego…they do when they don’t BELIEVE in said player’s ability…I think the Hawks feel like Hayes will make a good forward down the road, but that he’s not ready yet…as such, they are not going to put their 2015 Cup dreams on hold just for Kevin Hayes.

    Negzz, it was an incredible experience because I got to talk to a lot of the players later that day and some the next day…so I was able to ask about “my concerns” and hear their responses and get a feel for their individual confidence levels, because that’s what it is all about.

    I even talked to Q on Saturday (great conversation about 10 minutes long) and let him know my concerns about the 3 lines during the playoffs…and he was the greatest champion of 4 lines and knew that it cost us against the Kings…so the ultimate question was “why” then 3 lines and dress Bollig, Zus, Versteeg, etc, instead of Regin and Morin. Q’s response was that if he felt like he had 4 lines, he would have gone with them…and when I mentioned why not Regin centring the 4th line with Morin (had success together during the season) he said that they could have used Regin more, but that was a “gut” decision to stick with Handzus because it worked the year before…and that to throw Morin into the fire that late in the King’s series might have been detrimental. So he kind of skated around the question(s) a little, but some enlightening comments about the team…he said Bollig’s playoff performance was a “surprise” to them and they didn’t count on it…Shaw was a pleasant surprise and could have gone to him sooner. But the biggest comment he made was about defence, which is what I have said all along, if the D had simply had better net coverage in their own zone, all the talk about 4 lines wouldn’t have mattered. Very nice gentleman and it was great to be able to talk to him.

    I also talked to Kevin Dineen and a lot of players on Saturday…some fascinating answers to the questions I asked…one consistent response from the guys was that Versteeg will be a different hockey player next season…everyone was universal about this point…no one went into details, but they were firm in their belief.

    As for prospects camp, Friday was a great day to go as the Team C, the “Big Boys” got more ice time and were able to show off their games with a l0t of “half court” scrimmages. I know I already mentioned TT, but WOW…so impressive to see live. You had to be there to fully grasp what I am trying to say…but that speed, with that skill level and vision at that speed, is unbelievable. Anyone watching would know that he was going to be a special player in the NHL…Q basically said the same thing in his press session afterwards…you can see that the Hawks are simply “buying” TT an extra year IF he needs it physically so that they don’t damage a sure thing. I watched TT play wing on Friday and man was he good there…so he may very well find his way to Hawks THIS coming season and not have to compete with Richards. But the bottom line is this, TT will be a star Blackhawk player for a long time, zero doubts…I had a long talk with him, he seemed very bored Saturday, and he has a ton of self confidence. He is not discounting being a Hawk this season because of Richards, in fact he is going to camp with every intention of making the team. As for his size, the roster supplied Friday said 5’11” 179 pounds and not 169 as listed during last season. I am a little over 6’4″ and about 220…and TT does not look small…he had his Hawks jersey on, but you can see this thicker neck and definition in his shoulders…so for those who think that he is some weakling, he’s not. But compare him to say McNeil or even Danault, and there’s a difference…but that’s the same difference between TT and Nick Schmaltz…who was very good Friday as well…

    But for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts from Friday…

    Matt Carey – not as big or fast as I thought…but has a wicked shot whether its a slap, snap or wrist.
    Danault – good at everything he did…smooth, confident, just not as fast as I remember him…I wonder if all that extra weight hasn’t slowed him down…has to become a pro, he’s got such a well rounded game.
    Hartman – not as big as I thought, but he’s strong…and that’s a good way to describe his game, strong/powerful for a “small” guy…skates well…VERY CONFIDENT
    Hayden – I knew he was having a good week, and he looked GREAT…tons of skill for a big kid, lots of finish around the net, and NO FEAR in his game…he was chirping at the opposing players no stop…went right for the front of the net when they entered the zone…great passing, great shot, quick hands, decent speed, VERY CONFIDENT…if he doesn’t become a good Hawk player, I will be very surprised. I talked to him afterwards and he’s a kid that might come out of college hockey early, maybe next year, as I can tell that he is NOT there for the schooling…he just wants to be a hockey player, and with his size and development, the Hawks might move him to Rockford next year.
    Hinostroza…Wow, I was impressed…the kid is now built like a refrigerator…he’s one solid muscle. As for his skill and speed, they are what we have been told…if there is a 5′ 9″ kid that can make it in the NHL, it might be Hino…didn’t see much of any defence from him, but his skill and vision are unquestionable.
    Louis…at 5’7″ 150 I don’t know how he can make it, but man does he have the talent…similar skill set to Hino, just not as big…and as such he plays a smart, perimeter game…
    McNeil – much like Danault…did everything well, including skate, but nothing flashy or brilliant…again, similar to Danault, he’s got to become a pro as he has size and does everything well.
    MOOSE – he’s the real deal…I got a chance to speak with him for a while, I speak a little Swedish, a very nice guy, smart and aware…he knows how tough it is for him to win ice time in CHI but he wanted to play for the Hawks and win a championship…he’s very confident in his game, and he should be…he has the most speed for a guy his size that I have seen in a long time…and he’s a smooth skater, he doesn’t make a lot of motion to achieve his speed, meaning that he is quick as well…he also impressed with his stick work and his hands…he can score…I think he is going to be with the big club at some point this season…impressive guy!
    Garret Ross – not as big as I thought he was, but he’s a complete player…has more offensive skill than I thought, skates very well and is very strong on the puck…I can see him making the Hawks sooner than later…very intense on the ice.
    Nick Schmaltz – I think Wall reported that he didn’t start off very well at camp, but he sure finished it well…very, very talented kid, just undersized…skates well, and uses his stick well…he’s been well coached…I think the Hawks have a player here, but they don’t want to rush this kid…give him time to develop…that skill and vision isn’t going anywhere…
    Beau Starrett – you can’t miss that kid…he stands out everywhere…and for a huge kid, he has GREAT, and I mean GREAT hands…incredible hand/eye coordination for someone who still has lots of growing to do…I think if the Hawks give him time to develop, like Schmaltz, there’s a player there…he’s very thin, and that might account for his better than average skating…so it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his speed as his body fills out…he can put AT LEAST 30 more pounds on that frame.
    Clendening – much better defensively than people thought he would be…lots of people commented to me how good defensively he was after hearing so much that he was a one dimensional player…great stick work…very strong kid…I talked to him both Friday and Saturday and he now knows I am his #1 fan, next to his family. Very strong kid…he has powerful hands, is very smart, and is very confident…he doesn’t appreciate the bad rap about his defensive game…he knows that he can be better, but he’s also been told by coaches to play aggressively and take some chances…so he’s sure he can fit into Q’s system. He’s coming to camp with the intention of making the Hawks!
    Johns – Wow…I watched his games in Rockford, so I saw the improvement in his offensive game, but he’s progressed even farther…until Friday, I didn’t think there was a chance that he would make the Hawks this year, but he just might…at some point. Very, very impressive…he’s got decent speed for a big man (he’s not slow), and yes he’s big and strong, but his positioning was spot on and his stick work was impressive…he was the only DMan that “handled” TT…and TT still made his plays, but Johns forced TT to commit and stayed with his “man”…again, impressive kid and great to talk to.
    Dahlstrom – I was surprised by his attitude…he seemed to think that he was aways away from being NHL ready…I like his game and thought he did well using his size and strength, but to become an NHL player, you have to want it and know it…I am sure he knows he can be, but I just wanted to see him more aggressive and more confident. He sees himself as being a few years away.
    Paliotta/Mattson – I will combine them as they play a similar game and are both advancing in college hockey. Bowman spoke out about both of them, and they looked good…both are stay at home DMen but both have developed an offensive side to their games…Paliotta is a little bigger and more confident than Mattson, so I see him graduating to the Hawks sooner…he’s a funny, smart kid, who believes in himself…I think he a future Hawk DMan.
    TVR – to me he still doesn’t seem 100% confident yet after that horrible ankle injury…he’s got size, skill, a smoothness to his game (much like Orr), but he has average speed, inconsistent footwork (especially on the backpedal) and lacks tenacity. So as for TVR cracking the Hawks lineup this season, don’t count on it…he has the ability but he needs to have his mental game match his physical game.
    Goalies? I don’t want to end of a big negative, so let me just say that they all worked hard, most have their fundamentals in place, but I saw very little aggressiveness and all great goalies cut down the angles and own their crease…these guys don’t…they play timid and all of them fall down too soon, and then cling to their posts…Hayden scored on a bunch of shots, by just getting the puck up close in…is there hope? I guess…

    Overall it was a fun, fun time…the Hawks did an outstanding job of catering to the fan’s needs…every fan I talked to was very happy…the reporters were all well taken care of and in good spirits…just a first class job by the Hawks and a great experience…to have the players and the coaches so available to mingle and talk was very special…my favourite discussions were with Bickell, Shaw and Ben Smith…really, really nice people and fun guys. Bickell told me that he is looking for a breakout regular season next year, as he hasn’t been this healthy in a long time.

    We missed Sunday’s panels, but I can watch them on the Hawks website tomorrow…I got a cold on this trip, so I’m going to bed, but fire away with the questions and I will answer them later…as I said last week, I think the Hawks are going to win the Cup in 2015. This organization is in good hands, and is loaded with real NHL talent…Hayes or no Hayes…

  • July 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I was hoping to see you there Wall…like an idiot I asked about 4 people if they were “Wall” or if they knew you…no luck, and some weird looks…oh well…

    During the half court scrimmages TT moved around with different people, but during the actual scrimmage game, MOOSE centred with TT and Hartman on the wings…TT played both RW and LW, but predominately RW if I remember correctly. His shootout goal at the end was a thing of beauty. BTW, Hayden’s shoot out goal? Wow, a ton of skill. TT told me that he is now in CHI until the season starts and that his “best friend” this summer will be Hawks strength coach Paul Goodman…Ben Smith told me that he is going to shadow TT around the gym this summer, as Smith said, there are some things that he wants to work on…which is hard to believe if you look at Smith…one big muscle.

    Talk to you tomorrow Wall…

  • July 21, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Wow, Sr. Brad talked to Q about the playoff lineup!! Nobody in the press had the guts to ask Q those questions. Great info Sr. It makes sense that Bollig suprised them by laying an egg, so they dumped him right after the season. I give Q credit for talking to a fan and answering substantive and sensitive questions. In fact, I have decided to stop complaining about Q. GO HAWKS.

  • July 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Brad- great report…

    I am on Vacation on West Coast- so only made day 1!!!


  • July 21, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    I was not at any of the events nor camp. But I talked to a longtime friend and season ticket holder who was and he said that there was consistent buzz that Johns and Clendening are ready for the NHL right now. And that the Hawks are fully prepared to enable that to happen on day 1 of the season. Hence why I will assume Stan has not been in a big rush to clear cap space via a trade. We could see Oduya and Leddy moved in my opinion.

    And if the reports on Rasmussen are true, then Stan really needs to move a forward and that forward has to be Versteeg. To make that happen though it will take a prospect enticement be added to the deal (Hayes?)

  • July 21, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Thanks Brad for the scouting report. Did you have any thoughts on Soderberg or Norell? Those were 2 players that weren’t on my radar but I walked away extremely impressed w both especially Soderberg.

  • July 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    @SSHM and Brad, Thanks for the on the spot camp reports, great stuff! Wished I could have attended but on family trip the past week or so..

    Very interesting that Q acknowledged deficiency in ability to clear front of net as base issue vs LA, maybe they also think Johns is closer than we think based on Hogs games at end of last year? Playing physical defensive game is imperative particularly on the PK and would not miss Oduya in that respect if he was the piece moved to open a spot. Good to hear Moose looks strong, very encouraging. Finally, I’m a Bickell fan and looking forward to seeing him healthy to start the year.. Can’t wait for hockey to restart and hope the Hawks are as ready as we all are to get back after what should be ours!

  • July 21, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    SSHM- I only saw day 1… mostly half Ice… but I liked both Sberg and Norell…

    the “no-name” that stood out… Brisebois- he is a solid guy… did everything well…
    but w/ Hawks depth at D… Brisebois will most likely be the Hogs next Stanton… might make someone’s lineup in 2-4 years as 5/6th Dman… but not Hawks.

    Brad- would have been great to meet you… I am 6’4″ and 230lb. – we could make a good 3rd D pairing!!!

  • July 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Great to hear prospect camp reports – thanks guys. I second the suggestion someone made to Tab about doing a prospect camp review. Tab, if you can afford the time – it would be much appreciated. It would draw in more reports/observations and I’m probably not alone when I say I’m a guy walking through the desert of hockey off season looking for an oasis to quench my thirst for more Hawks news.

  • July 21, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Great report Sr. brad. Clendining and Johns are studs.
    My son and I saw that right away.
    There are so many talented players in this organization. My son also liked Louis.
    I was impressed with Sam Jardine on Thursday. He had a strong day on the ice.

  • July 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    SSHM- great report on the TT/MOOSE/Hartman line…


    can you add to the ” Hawks don’t have anyone like MOOSE” comment?

  • July 22, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I hope Hartman gets invited to training camp. In the OHL he played very well on a pretty middling team. Tough kid, hard to take off the puck, wicked shot.

  • July 22, 2014 at 7:54 am

    I’m sure most of the top guys in Rockford will get an invite to training camp, which would include Hartman.

    re: training camp review – working on one. My disappointment was that the guys headed to Rockford didn’t participate as much; I understand why, but I still would have liked to have seen them skate more (selfishly).

  • July 22, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Great stuff Brad, thank you for taking the time to share.

    Brad and Wall- I’m only 6’2″ 220, so you’ve got me beat on size, but I’m certainly a lot younger! hah

  • July 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Wall, with you, me and Rufus on a 4th line, we would have been the Hansen’s reincarnated…with the odd puck going in off of my head!!!

    SSHM, I wish I would have known you were there…I would have loved to have met you! Thanks for reminding me about these two…I had a star next to Soderberg…I checked my notes and had written he doesn’t look or play like a Swede…big kid with decent wheels…and I was shocked by Norell, he wasn’t this timid Swede that I thought he was going to be..he actually has size on him…when I talked to MOOSE on Saturday, he said that about 6 years ago the Swedish “minor program” realized that if the goal was to develop their kids to play in the NHL, then they had to become much stronger and tougher…so all teams, from 12 up have a regimented weight training component to their practices….and clearly it has worked…so many of the Swedes now are BIGGER than the NA kids…and Wall, Moose is a BIG GUY…he will be very tough to move off the puck…I can totally see him as centring a line that controlls the puck a lot…Moose with Bickell and Morin would be insane!

    I also had a long talk with Jeremy Morin (no we are not dating) on Saturday, and he’s a smart kid…and get this, HE LIKES Q! No kidding…he said that the main reason he took what he did from the Hawks (2 years and less money) was to stay with the Hawks and learn from Q. Morin told me that Q said to him before the start of the playoffs, that if he had played like he did at the end of the season, mid season, he would have been in the playoff lineup. Morin said that it killed him to watch the King’s series with only 3 lines playing and he and Regin both felt like they could have helped…this has spurred Morin on to work harder at both ends of the ice, so he will be a key contributor come playoff time next season. I asked him about which line he would like to be on and he said that he would be happy on any line, but he said that his game fits any of the 4 lines, and if Q put him with Toews and Hossa, he would be ready. He mentioned that he likes playing with Shaw and Regin…good chemistry with both of them…nice kid and has really filled out…big and strong!

    Hammer told me that he is planning on retiring a Blackhawk..doesn’t want to play in another city, that’s why he took the deal he did, as it is essentially a no trade contract, because we can always afford Nik! Great guy!

    I also talked to Raanta…very nice, very funny guy! He said that he was incredibly nervous last season and he couldn’t get his nerves to settle down all year…he said that playing in Rockford might have been better for him, but he was thankful for the opportunity…he is taking a meditative yoga class this summer to learn how to calm himself down and get into a zone…apparently this is similar to Crawford, who actually leaves the dressing room before the game starts to get in a Zen-like state…so for next season our goalies will be the Buddha and Shiva…

    Again, I was blown away by how good the convention was…the Hawks thought of everything to make the experience great for the fans.

    BTW Pete, with Q he had just finished speaking with a bunch of girls, there were a lot of people standing around, so I think he felt obligated…I came across as a big fan and very understanding, so I don’t think he was uncomfortable at all…for me the biggest thing was that he was such a champion of 4 lines…and he knows why it is so important…Fresh Toews, fresh Kane and fresh Hossa.

  • July 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

    JS, you can centre Wall and I on the “clean” 4th line…the new, improved Hansens who just want to play old time hockey!

    Mike, Hartman’s a player, for sure, but I think this year’s camp will get him ready for the following year’s team…the nice thing about Hartman is that he can start with the Hawks on the 4th line, and fit right in, before matriculating up the lines…the biggest thing about Hartman for me, is his self confidence…he carries himself like a mini Elvis…seriously (and I think that’s a good thing).

    Here’s something that has been bothering me, and please chip in with your thoughts…but McNeil and Danault (who I both like) just don’t stand out…they don’t do anything wrong…and both can skate and play 2 way hockey, BUT they don’t show me that they do anything particularly great either…I really hope that they both make it, but I just have this feeling inside that I keep trying to deny, but I know that its there…I mean I look at a player like TT (still a little undersized) but I KNOW he will make it…the same with Johns and Hartman, and to an extent Hayden and Ross…but I don’t get this “for sure” feeling about either of them…I hope its just me!

  • July 22, 2014 at 9:57 am


    Moose is in interesting prospect because of his size and skating ability. He is very solidly built, he isn’t Bickell size but he’s close. Imagine Bickell with a long powerful stride and good one ice agility. Moose is very agile and big. So to clarify he’s a big guy that skates very well. The name I keep coming up with and it isn’t fair to Moose is Forsberg. I am not saying for a min that Moose will ever come close to Forsberg but if you remember Forsberg and his staking ability and how well he moved for a bigger guy. Maybe others here can think of some big swedes that can skate.

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

    “Versteeg will be a different hockey player next season…everyone was universal about this point…” — *I* hope Versteeg will play for a different team next season.

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

    SSHM, I agree…the best word to describe Moose is smooth…a he’s a big guy.

    Dickie, clearly the guys “knew” something about Versteeg’s situation…and remember how good Steeger was for us in Dec./Jan.

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

    @ Brad

    You are absolutely correct neither Danault or McNeil were all that impressive. Danault is a very good skater and shifty so I was more impressed with him out of the pair. The thing I noticed about all the Rockford guys was they all had max effort. No wasted motions, top speed always which is a testament to the coaching they are getting in RFD. The all move like pros. However the fact that none of them really stood out tells me that if they make the NHL neither of them will be impact players.

    The Bowmans must really love Swedes, because if you look back at Detroit after they were the Red Army team they quickly became the Sweden national team. That 1st line that the Hawks put together was all Euro’s minus Hartman. It could have been just for communication purposes but the fact that a couple of teenagers crushed the Rockford squad is telling. Again I keep going back to Soderberg what a surprise out there for me.

    ESPN is reporting the Hawks are looking for a 3rd goalie again. I’m glad Stan saw what I saw and that is a goaltending group that is not up to par. Nimlov looked BAD, Mac Carruth looked worse. His positioning was awful he looked completed over matched by the 1st Red team line. The 1st goal he gave up to Michael Paliotta was horrible. Matt Tomkins was their best goalie prospect and he is a undrafted FA so that is telling. Its a shame Brandon Whitney is no longer with the team due to injury.

    Johns really looks the part reminds me a lot of Seabs. Another good thing is if the Hawks trade Sharp, Hartman can step in and provide the best hair on the team.

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Brad could it be that newer players are just better than McNiel and Danualt? With the size and reported speed and skills of the newer guys, are they simply overshadowing M and D?

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:58 am

    SSHM, I agree with everything you said…excellent post…I didn’t want to say it, because its a lot of pressure to put a young man under, but Johns does remind me of Seabrook, almost identical games…both with booming shots…the goaltending, well its a work in progress is all I can say.

    Mike, I don’t know…I am not knocking those two guys, because I like them both…but I just wish they would stand out at something…and I second what SSHM said about Ted Dent and Co…they have really coached the Rockford kids well…the give everything they have every shift…they come back to the bench exhausted…and that’s a recipe for winning.

    SSHM, that is so funny about Hartman’s hair…my wife, not a hockey fan, didn’t believe it was real…she asked if he had cancer and that was a wig…and when you talk to him, he just gets that he’s a “big deal”…honestly, he’s like a mini Elvis with his aura…in the NHL he will probably have a posse that follows him around from game to game, and holding on to his cap when he goes on the ice…and I mean all of that in the best possible way!

  • July 22, 2014 at 11:40 am

    This is great stuff from everyone who was at the prospect camp and convention. Thanks and I appreciate the intel/info. I really believe the Hawks are built to compete for the next 6-10 years (hopefully closer to 10).

  • July 22, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Disclaimer: I don’t know shyte from shinola when it comes to Ted Dent and the Icehogs coaching staff.

    That said, are we really sure the prospects are getting coached up the right way in Rockford? Maximum effort? Any coach should be getting maximum effort out of the players or those players should be elsewhere. The “fact” that the Rockford guys play with max effort is hopefully not the only thing being coached in Rockford.

  • July 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Here’s a nice piece on Garret Ross from the Hawk’s website, he was voted the team’s rookie of the year…I believe in Ross as a player, he’ll make a good pro…

    While McNeill and Danault both carry the pedigree associated with high draft picks, it was another Rockford rookie who was recognized by the IceHogs coaching staff.

    2012 fifth-round pick Garret Ross was named the team’s Rookie of the Year after posting 15 goals and 16 assists in his first pro season. The 22-year old Michigan native also owned a +12 plus/minus rating, best among team forwards.

    “It was definitely an honor to be recognized for [my play last season],” Ross said. “While it was an up-and-down season for us, overall I think it went pretty well. We have a good coaching staff to help the younger guys along the way. I think that really made a difference.”

    Similar to his teammates, Ross acknowledges that there are places where he can improve, first and foremost when it comes to taking penalties; he was assessed 74 penalty minutes last season.

    “I bring a high compete level every day on the ice,” Ross explained. “I’m out there battling day in and day out. I think that’s something every team needs–players with high energy and toughness. I think [the team] expects that out of me.”

    As far as his positives, Ross said: “I’m a two-way player; I’m responsible in my defensive zone. I can also produce when given the opportunity in the offensive zone. I bring a lot of energy and grit to the game. That pretty much sums me up.”

  • July 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    ER, they are a good staff…I think you have to look at it this way…would Stan and Scotty Bowman entrust the development of their top prospects to people who didn’t know what they are doing??? To the Hawks, money isn’t an object, they will go out and hire the best coaches they can find….

  • July 22, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Awesome reports on the camp and appreciate the personal insights, Sr. Brad. Those of us that can’t get to these events are lucky to have this blog to get the low down. Tab, you have done such a great job and draw the best posters. We may not always agree on everything but I know we all can’t wait for the puck to drop again.

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

  • July 22, 2014 at 10:37 pm


    You absolutely are correct and I am not a hockey expert or do I pretend to be one, but what I can see are guys “trying” and guys “not trying”. The RFD guys/pros were skating hard to lose pucks hard. Some of the college guys/euro weren’t. I could tell 9 times out of 10 just based on effort who was a pro and who wasn’t. It was very telling. So based on that is tells me that the “pro” are held to a specific standard.

    @Brad That’s funny what your wife said about Hartman’s hair…It’s impressive! He does seem like a cocky SOB. He is going to LOVE playing here on this team! I wish I would have known you were attending as well. I was sitting on the 1st row next to the media section closest to the 2nd floor bar.

  • July 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

    SSHM- I to was impressed by 1st day of drills for MOOSE… put the puck in the net as much as anyone… bigger than I thought (then again – there were a lot of small Fwds. to compare him to)… his stick and reach were impressive… much more active that way compared to a Bickell… and he was quick to the play in the “half-court stuff”- which if I think about it- kind of reminds me of a taller/bigger version of Madden… anticipates well so – makes him quicker than you think.

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