There were a few takeaways from the first two days of the Chicago Blackhawks’ annual Prospect Camp
The Chicago Blackhawks opened their 2016 Prospect Camp on Sunday at Johnny’s IceHouse West. The ’Hawks’ practices were supposed to begin at 10:30 a.m. but started at 11. The first practice was with Team C.
Team C was highlighted by Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman and Vincent Hinostroza. Schmaltz was the most impressive forward during the opening Team C practice. Schmaltz figures to make the Blackhawks’ opening night roster after leaving the University of North Dakota early. Schmaltz was a no-brainer to impress at camp and was listed as one of our players to watch.
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The offensive player that impressed me the most in this group was Anthony Louis. Louis was a sixth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Louis had spent two years with the U.S. National Developmental Team before being drafted by the Blackhawks.
He has spent the last three years at the Miami University (Ohio). He put up 25 points in his freshman year, 36 points in his sophomore year and 26 points in his junior year.
Despite his small stature, Louis was not taken off the puck by bigger forwards and defensemen. He also had great chemistry with forwards Hartman and Hinostroza on offensive drills. Louis has not signed his entry-level contract yet and will return to Miami this fall.
The defensive player that impressed me the most on Team C was John Hayden. Hayden appeared strong on the puck during team drills. He had a strong shot and appeared to have a very active stick to my untrained eye.
Hayden was a 2013 NHL draft pick. He was taken 74th overall and has played his last three seasons at Yale. He finished last season with 23 points and a team-leading 16 goals. Scouts say Hayden is progressing at a great pace and he could be ready after next season to sign with the Blackhawks.
The second day of camp was highlighted by the first scrimmage. Team B defeated Team A 3-1 in a game that featured a goal from Fredrik Olofsson, a 2014 fourth-round pick. It was a feed from 2014 fifth-round pick Luc Snuggerud, who is teammates with Olofsson at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Team B also got goals from John Dahlstrom, a 2015 seventh-round pick, Alexandre Fortin of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda to seal the victory.
One of the newest Blackhawks, 2016 draft pick Alex DeBrincat, spent time on Team B’s top line and has been strong on the puck despite his small size. DeBrincat figures to spend next season back in the OHL, where he has produced 50 goals each of the last two seasons.
Team C which has most of the big name prospects takes to the ice today in their first scrimmage during prospect camp.