Chicago Blackhawks: Rookie Tournament Roster Announced

By Sean Fitzgerald

The Chicago Blackhawks have announced their roster for the 2015 Rookie Tournament. The Rookie Tournament will take place in Traverse City, Mich., from Sept. 11-14. The team includes 24 players (14 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders) and will be coached by Rockford IceHogs head coach Ted Dent and associate coach Mark Osiecki.

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The Blackhawks squad will compete against rookie teams from the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings, and potentially the Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. The rules of the tournament are as followed: Teams are each divided into two divisions of four and will face each team within their division once during round-robin play. After those three round-robin games, the division winners will square off in the championship game on Sept. 15, while other teams will face off in third-place, fifth-place and seventh-place games.

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Chicago’s roster features a wide variety of talent ranging from first-round picks to college free agents. The team features several Illinois natives — Ryan Hartman, Vincent Hinostroza and Roy Radke. The players to watch in my mind are Kyle Baun, Tanner Kero and Hartman.

Baun has some NHL experience, though it is very limited. He appeared in three games with the Blackhawks last season after an impressive junior year in college at Colgate. In 2014-15 at Colgate, Baun had 14 goals and 15 assists in 29 games. I had the opportunity to watch Baun at the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp this summer. Baun seemed to be the most NHL-ready player of the bunch. He was more impressive than Mark Dano, in my mind, because of his consistent play.

Kero is intriguing to me because his signing during the 2014-15 season flew under the radar. Kero did not have the same hype attached to him as Baun. Kero had similar numbers to Baun in college. At Michigan Tech, Kero had 20 goals and 26 assists for 46 points in his senior year. He was a Hobey Baker Award nominee his senior year. In his four years at Michigan Tech, Kero totaled 111 points in 153 games. Last season, Kero also appeared in six games with the Rockford IceHogs and scored five goals. His recognition and success in college make Kero a player to watch at the rookie tournament. Hopefully Kero pans out better for the Blackhawks than former Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc.

My last player to watch Hartman, who will be fighting for one of the bottom six roster spots with the Blackhawks next season. Hartman also carries the added weight of being a former first-round pick in 2013. Hartman spent most of last season with the Rockford IceHogs. Hartman appeared in 69 games with the IceHogs, recording 13 goals and 24 assists. Hartman also debuted with the Blackhawks last season. He appeared in five games, recording zero points. If Hartman spends another entire year down at Rockford, he could be entering the Kyle Beach zone.

With the spotlight hopefully switching away from the Patrick Kane situation and back to hockey, the rookie tournament should be fun to watch.

Tickets for the rookie tournament can be purchased at Centre Ice Arena or at

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