Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks open training camp Friday, meaning the 2016-17 year is right round the corner. Following another offseason of big shifts in Chicago, the group is dipping its toes into a youth movement together with the season only weeks away.
There are still plenty of big questions for the Hawks to reply after a busy offseason m88 sport. Other than about a dozen guys who are locks to make the roster, doubt fills the remainder of the roster. There are constantly educated guesses, however this is when players really cement their spots. Expect a younger team compared to Joel Quenneville has rolled out within years.
With so far to be picked throughout camp, even with many big names in Toronto at the World Cup of Hockey, it needs to be an interesting few weeks for all those of us that follow the Hawks.
Who plays with Toews?
This looks like the most interesting question of them all. Jonathan Toews is the Hawks’ No. 1 center and arguably their best all-around player, yet he still does not understand who he’ll be paired with next time. It looks like that can be picked in camp, even when coach Joel Quenneville might need to sort through familiar options like Marian Hossa and Richard Panik and more younger, intriguing alternatives such as Nick Schmaltz, Vincent Hinostroza and Tyler Motte.
There is a lot of strain on the young children to step up here since Hossa, frankly, looks like he has missing a bit at age 37. That does not mean he can not still be an effective multi player player in the right role, but that the days of him regularly playing big minutes against the toughest contest next to Toews could be over.
Ideally, the younger guys are going to be able to step into these roles and give the Hawks a different dose of rate.
And there’s always the nuclear option of going Patrick Kane up in the lineup next to Toews. This would need a major restructuring of the group’s forward lines in the top to bottom, but if you REALLY wanted to get your superstar center the right support following time, that is the most obvious way to do it. However, you’d figure the Hawks would instead try other options before breaking up the next line that has been so good annually.
If I had to guess right now, I’d figure Toews begins the year using Panik and Hinostroza because of his wings, then assuming Q is seriously interested in going Hossa down. There is still a whole lot that could change over the next few weeks, however.
Can a prospect crack the defense?
Just one of these, Kempny, is waivers-exempt, and that he appears highly likely to create the NHL roster given that he’s an European Assignment Clause.
So there is no one the Hawks can openly ship to the AHL without undermining giving up them for free, and Rozy seems like the default man considering there’s no explanation why they’d re-sign him. He’s knowledgeable about the machine and also the team likes him, so, fine, not a huge thing.
However, it begs the question of how a prospect such as Ville Pokka or Gustav Forsling may also split to this group presuming Kempny is at all. Given the waivers standing of the guys ahead of these, the Blackhawks would want to trade a player (probably TVR) in order to open up another place. That’s especially notable in the event the group wanted to keep Forsling, that will go back to Sweden if he doesn’t create the opening day roster.
So I wouldn’t dismiss the prospect of a young defenseman-for-young forward commerce by the end of training camp in case the Hawks determine they can’t afford to ship Forsling back abroad. Otherwise, the defense is already set up and hopefully that stability will be favorable.
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Alexandre Fortin tries to earn a contract
The prospect camp star has already made it this far, but he’s still awaiting the actual prize: a entry-level agreement offer from the Blackhawks. The 19-year-old forward impressed in prospect camp and in the beginner tournament at Traverse City, Mich., but his agent recently told The Athletic’s Scott Powers the 2 sides have not shared a deal yet.
And assuming the winger proceeds to impress at training camp beside NHL-caliber ability, you can expect Chicago to provide him an ELC prior to the year. It is tough to say what the Hawks have in Fortin in this stage, but he has done enough to make a flier.
Mark McNeill gets his big chance
Of all of the young forwards battling for playing time in camp, then you may be surprised to notice that McNeill produces the opening roster. The former first-round pick is seldom still mentioned one of the group’s top prospects and also re-signed to your one-year deal with very little fanfare after hitting restricted free agency on the summer.
But McNeill is no more waiver-exempt, which might give him a huge leg up over the opponent to generate the opening roster.
McNeill is just a 23-year-old former first-round choice with some track record of production in the AHL, so it is hard to think that nobody would creep him off waivers. That means the Hawks are deciding between two options: (a) provide McNeill a legit shot in the NHL to start the season (b) allow him to reach waivers and risk losing him for nothing else (c) commerce him.
Contemplating the Hawks only had a few months to commerce McNeill and chose not to despite rumors, though it feels as though they’re still open to the idea he could bring about the group. After putting up 48 points from 63 AHL games last year, it is not that mad. Do not be surprised if McNeill is in a bottom-six role to open the season.
The health updates
W88Asia – Even after the very long offseason, a lot of Hawks are still seemingly going into the season waking up. Duncan Keith prevented the World Cup to continue knee rehabilitation, Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa had accident scares in Toronto and Nick Schmaltz missed a couple games in Michigan having a minor injury. None of them seem like difficulties that may stretch deep into the season, but also for a group that’s comparatively thin, they can not afford to get too many key players miss some time.
The most prominent issue here is if Keith will be prepared for opening night, as GM Stan Bowman recently declined to confirm whether that would be the situation. It seemed like Bowman was just hedging, since he also said that the accident was nothing serious, but if Keith misses a week or two to open the season, the Hawks will have to re-shuffle their defensive corps to never stumble from the gate.