Mar 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville on the bench during the third period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Nashville won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Every season Joel Quenneville seems to like to surprise Blackhawks fans and when the opening night roster is announced with a name on it that no one expected. Before we get to our list Teuvo Teravainen would not be a surprise and to be honest I’m hoping he makes the team instead of taking his talents to Rockford.
Last season no one expected Joakim Nordstrom to make the opening night roster, but there he was for a few games before getting sent to Rockford. Nordstrom did return at the end of the season and you could tell that a full AHL season under his belt had done wonders for his confidence. Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin and Brandon Saad were all surprise players to make the opening night roster and see some NHL action in years past before getting sent down to Rockford.
Here is my list of possible players to have a great training camp and crack the Blackhawks roster if only for a short time due to salary cap implications or just simply great play before getting sent down to Rockford for most of the season.
3. Mark McNeill
McNeill actually was the best 2011 first round draft pick in Rockford last season. In 76 games he scored 18 times with 19 assists and can play both center and wing. McNeill was committed to winning last season and the Blackhawks organization took note of it as well as his committment to transitioning to the wing from his natural center position. McNeill is not a flashy prospect like Teuvo but he’s incredibly consistent and has been on every level so a strong training camp and preseason should be expected not a surprise really from McNeill.