Led by one of the NHL’s top prospects Marcus Kruger, the Hawks are starting to build a young team again. This shows remnants of the team that taught Kane and Toews learn the ropes just a few years ago. The team that eventually molded into a championship team.
But this time, we don’t have dead-beat players like Adrian Aucoin and Robert Lang leading the team. Players like Kruger, Bickell, Smith and Leddy are learning and will continue to learn from some of the top players in the league. Along with these season-ready players, there are names in Rockford waiting for their chance. Players like Beach, Connelly and Olsen are itching for an opportunity to play for the big club.
With this youth movement, the Hawks are looking to position themselves to stay one of the league’s elite for quite a while. The tricky part is holding on to the young talent. Even last year we saw rising star Jack Skille leave for the Florida. We have seen our old players come back to bite us, like Dan Cleary and Michael Creighton (though we got the best of him in the end).
The names listed here are ones to remember. They will be surprising a lot of fans in a season or two. I have been licking my chops to see Kyle Beach come up and play. I know he will be fan-favorite when he gets his chance. He’s a big boy who will be a Byfuglien-style player. He will fit in well with this new gritty, hard-hitting team.
But the optimism from the youth is overshadowed at times by their inexperience. The team full of young players that was put on the ice last year barely made it to the playoffs. They ended up giving the first three games of the series away to Vancouver.
If Kane and Toews can become the stars they are today by learning from scrubs like Aucoin and Lang, I think that these new kids will be fine. Some have gotten valuable playoff experience already, while others are still waiting for their chance. But if this youth movement stays in Chicago, they will get their chance at a cup.