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Chicago Blackhawks: Ryan Haggerty Impresses Early

By Skylar Peters

The Chicago Blackhawks had a busy offseason; there is no denying that.

Some of the names that have come and gone include the likes of Patrick Sharp, Artem Anisimov, Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya.

However, ask a Blackhawks fan about Ryan Haggerty, and they might not even realize that he has only been a Blackhawk since June.

Haggerty was acquired in exchange for Antti Raanta on June 27 in a trade that saw the Blackhawks move their third-string goaltender in a necessary move, albeit to an unexpected team.

Haggerty had a strong rookie season in the AHL with the Rangers’ affiliate, tallying 15 goals and 18 assists. Coming out of college, Haggerty was marked as a pure shooter when he chose to sign with his hometown Rangers.

After a trade to the Windy City, Haggerty’s game certainly hasn’t changed.

Haggerty has been the most outstanding player at the ‘Hawks annual Traverse City Rookie Tournament, firing four goals in his first four in a Blackhawks sweater. In a tournament in which the ‘Hawks have had lots of success in the past, Haggerty looks like the next bright spot to emerge in the team’s system.

Ted Dent, who was the head coach of the rookies in Traverse City this past weekend, told ESPN Chicago this about Haggerty:

"“He can shoot the puck … He has a heavy, quick release. He knows how to find the scoring areas. He’s strong. He’s strong on the puck as well. He’s got a year of pro (play) under his belt. He’s got some good detail to his game.”"

Dent, who is head coach of the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, may be Haggerty’s coach all winter if the latter sets off on his sophomore professional season in the AHL. However, if Haggerty’s training camp last year with the Rangers is any indication, it may not be such an easy call.

Haggerty impressed many at Rangers’ main camp last year, following up on a terrific showing in their prospects camp that spring. Though he was a longshot to make the Rangers out of camp, this year may be a different story with a full AHL season under his belt.

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Joel Quenneville has been known to make a roster with a few surprise players out of camp, such as now-former Blackhawk Joakim Nordstrom making the team out of camp in 2013 while Jeremy Morin went back to the ‘Hogs.

This time around, Nordstrom and Kris Versteeg have been shipped off to the Carolina Hurricanes, and the result is a pair of roster spots open for the taking.

Though Haggerty has a lot of competition with the Blackhawks’ home-grown prospects such as Mark McNeill, and new signings such as Viktor Tikhonov and Artemi Panarin, the door is certainly open. With training camp slated to start at the end of this week, Haggerty’s name is certainly one to remember as the Blackhawks get their season underway.

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