Welcome to another summer of Blackhawks’ Future Friday. In this weekly column, we explore some of the prospects in the Blackhawks’ system, and see how far they’ve come in the past year, as well as discuss their future with the club. This Friday, we cover a Blackhawk that not many even knew about, until he made the team at last season’s training camp: Joakim Nordstrom.
Nordstrom seemed to come out of nowhere in the fall of 2013, and when the Blackhawks’ roster was announced, he was on it, while the likes of Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Pirri, well-known Blackhawks prospects, would start their season down the road with Rockford of the AHL.
Although there were mixed feelings about the Blackhawks’ 2010 third-rounder at roster announcement time, Nordstrom kept up with the speed and the skill of the NHL game, after playing just 11 AHL games last season in his first trip overseas from his home country of Sweden.
On the scoresheet, Nordstrom put up 3 points in 16 regular season games, while finishing with a -2 rating. He was sent back down to the IceHogs, where he played the majority of his season, by mid-October. He was called up twice in the regular season, and remained with the team for the Playoffs.
Nordstrom surprised many when he dressed in seven total Stanley Cup Playoff games, where he did not manage a point, and was an even +/- of 0. Many wanted the 22-year old to be sitting in the press box instead of Jeremy Morin, but by the Western Conference Final, both young wingers were watching the game in suits instead of jerseys.
The 22-year old is entering the final year of his entry-level contract, which carries a $616,667 cap hit. If the Blackhawks are looking to shed what small cap space he takes up, he could be packaged in with a trade mid-season, and is a valuable card to hold when in trade talks: a part-time NHL-er that could play full-time elsewhere (See: Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes, Dylan Olsen).
Nordstrom’s quick rise to the NHL has Blackhawks fans hoping that he can adapt and excel at the NHL level in the near future, Nordstrom is one of many young wingers the Blackhawks have in the system that are NHL-ready, and that competition will only breed a faster, stronger, and smarter Swede, if he wants to start the 2014-15 season in the same place he did one year ago.
What do you think of Nordstrom’s first season as a Blackhawk? Is he worth re-signing moving forward, or would a trade best suit both sides? Let us know in the comments!
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