Today kicked off the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2015 Prospect Camp, in which there were 32 potential future major leaguers. With Stephen Johns being traded away, Mark McNeill gets the gold watch for the most prospect camps. McNeill is attending his fifth camp.
This was the second consecutive year I’ve attended Prospect Camp. Last year I was only able to watch the first practice and had a whole bench to myself; this year, practice was supposed to start at 10:30 a.m., but the Blackhawks made a scheduling change. Practice started at 10 a.m. I arrived at that time, and Johnny’s IceHouse West was sparely populated.
Da Windy City
At the original practice start time is when the majority of Blackhawks fans arrived. I was able to watch two practices. The first practice was with Team C, featuring Marko Dano, Kyle Baun, McNeill, Ryan Haggerty, Garrett Ross and Vince Hinostroza at forward. The practice started off with skating drills without sticks. Baun seemed to have trouble staying on his edges, and Dano looked slow in the initial drills.
The drills then went onto shooting and defense, which were one-on-one plus a goalie. The attacking player was then on defense for the next skater. Baun excelled in this drill, scoring on multiple opportunities. Dano might have been the best in the one-on-one drills, as he flashed some brilliant moves. The two goalies with Team C were Stefan Steen and Matt Tomkins. Tomkins was the weaker of the two goalies with Team C. He struggled with shots on his stick side. The workout concluded shortly after 11 a.m.
Other observations from the Team C workout:
— Haggerty and Hinostroza look to be smaller in person.
— Baun, in my humble opinion, appeared to have the best day with Team C.
After a 90-minute intermission, Teams A and B took the ice for practice. Team B featured John Hayden, Tyler Motte and Matthew Iacopelli, among others, while Team A featured Nick Schmaltz and Robin Press, among others. In the second practice, there was more hitting. Sam Jardine laid the biggest hit of the second practice. The drills featured in the second practice were the same as those in the first practice. Iacopelli looked impressive in the one-on-one drills, while Hayden had some nice moves on the ice.
General Manager Stan Bowman appeared in the Blackhawks staff section of the bleachers. Stan was working his phone pretty well but had time to sign autographs.
Other observations from Teams A and B practice:
— Motte doesn’t look very tall on skates.
— Gustav Forsling could be a future defenseman for the Blackhawks.
Most of the people that I sat by during Prospect Camp were very knowledgeable about the organization and the NHL. The second practice had a decent crowd, but not as big as there was for the first practice with Team C.