The Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp is a great way to showcase the incredible talents of the players who are slated to become the next great legends of Blackhawks hockey. The camp is set to start on Sunday and run until next Friday. It will be held at Johnny’s Ice House, the Blackhawks main practice facility. Since we have now gotten a list of the 62 invitees who will be attending this event, let’s take a look at what we can expect this next week.
A few familiar faces will be at the camp. Eight players who were on the Rockford Icehogs roster for most of last season will be attending including Adam Clendening, Alex Broadhurst, and Kent Simpson. Teuvo Teravainen, whom I will talk about more in a moment, and Matt Carey both skated in at least one game for Chicago last season.
The new attendees this year will include all nine of the Hawks 2014 draft selections. Nick Schmaltz (20th overall), Matt Iacopelli (83rd overall), and Beau Starrett (88th overall) are three guys from this years draft that I will be watching closely in the camp. Dennis Rasmussen, who was signed by the Blackhawks earlier this offseason, will also be there. He formerly played for the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League. Last season, he was tenth in league scoring with 40 points. Trevor Van Riemsdyk, brother of James Van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs), signed with the Hawks in March, and will also be playing this week.
Two players who are not on the list really stand out to me. Kevin Hayes and Tyler Motte will not be attending camp. Hayes was the Blackhawks first round pick in 2010, and is currently in contract negotiations with the team after his senior season at Boston College. Motte had a very good freshman season at Michigan, so it is surprising that he will also not be present.
Three players whom I would keep an eye on this week include Teravainen, Stephen Johns, and Ryan Hartman. All three players have a decent chance of seeing at least a little time with the Blackhawks this upcoming season.
Teravainen is considered to be the team’s top prospect. After his season in Finland was over, he was given an incredible hype among Hawks fans who were expecting him to come over to the States and step right in for the team. What most didn’t consider is that international play is slower-paced and the ice is larger, so it will take some time for him to get adjusted. He was the Hawks 1st round draft pick in 2012. Last season with Jokerit of the SM Liiga, he scored 9 goals and had 35 assists for 44 points. He helped lead Finland to the Gold Medal in this years World Junior Championships with 2 goals and 13 assists for 15 points. He led the tournament in scoring.
Stephen Johns was a second round selection by the Hawks in 2010. After his time at Notre Dame in which he was mostly known for his defensive prowess, he is expected to develop into a top 6 defenseman eventually. He was selected to the NCAA Hockey East Second All-Star team in 2013-14. In 8 games with Rockford last season, he a goal and 4 assists.
Ryan Hartman is another player who carries a lot of expectations coming into this prospect camp and upcoming season. Selected with the last pick (3oth overall) by the Hawks in 2013, he played last year with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL finishing the season with 53 points in 52 games! He also played 9 games with the Icehogs and produced 7 points.
Every year at Prospect Camp, there are players who surprise us, and players who don’t quite meet expectations. Hopefully this year it will mostly be the former.
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