Blackhawks News

The Overflow Of New Players Can Spell Trouble For Youngsters

By Unknown author

If Stan Bowman signs Stalberg and Campoli despite their filing for arbitration, the team is going to be stocked full of major league players. Potentially, the Blackhawks have 24 players ready to play in the national hockey league. That doesn’t include the new draft picks and the other players invited to the prospect camp. The problem is, who gets cut when the team needs to be trimmed for the regular season?

The players most likely to be dropped back to Rockford are the younglings. Ben Smith and Nick Leddy are two names that come to mind immediately. The two have proven themselves at the highest level, and were even used in the playoffs last year against Vancouver. But with their inexperience, they may have to play for the Ice Hogs next season.

Being in Rockford will help groom them for the future, but could the Hawks use them now? What do we lose with these two not on the roster for the regular season?

Ben Smith reminded me a lot of Andrew Ladd as he played in the playoffs last season. He has that gritty sense of always getting to the lose puck. We saw this full scale when he scored the winning goal of Game 6 of the playoffs this year.

Smith can battle along the boards with the best of them. His explosive play is exciting to watch.

He has been tested on the ice through the playoffs and has gained valuable experience playing against the eventual Western Conference Champions last year. Out of the 13 games he played, seven of them were in the playoffs. He scored three out of his four career NHL goals in the playoffs as well.

Leddy became an everyday defenseman last year with the Hawks. He played 53 games, including all seven playoff games last year. During the playoffs, Leddy played his role exceptionally.

Leddy made a case to play to secure a spot on the Hawks defensive unit last year with his consistent style of shutdown defense and good hockey sense. He is a smart player who only took four penalty minutes all year.

Leddy had grown to be a major league defenseman last year and will be a top defenseman some day soon.

If the Blackhawks’ worst preseason problem is having too many players, then they should be in good shape for the regular season. Having Leddy and Smith play down for part of the season will help groom them into better players as well. However the experience gained from playing in the NHL is unmatched to anything they will get with Rockford.

You have to keep in account that there may be that prospect that dazzles everyone and gets a shot at the big time. Also, injuries to starters will offer chances for young players like Leddy and Smith to make a name for themselves in the NHL.

Marty Hobe