We’re getting closer and closer to training camp for the Chicago Blackhawks
There are a few things to watch out for during the NHL’s offseason. The draft is always one of them, and the beginning of training camp is another.
On a similar note, the announcement of training camp rosters is also worth fans’ time. You get a mix of guaranteed regular-season players and guys who are going to be working their hardest to crack the roster.
Training camp is a time to see how the regulars are looking ahead of a long run to the Stanley Cup. It’s also a time to see which youngsters are showing the most promise, and maybe which of them are capable of making an NHL impact in the near future.
That last point is especially true for the Chicago Blackhawks this year. Their forward depth is of concern after general manager Stan Bowman focused on bolstering the defense this offseason. He was right to do so, but it leaves questions about the team’s offense.
So which youngsters are going to get a shot to crack the main roster and, maybe, pick up the offense in some way? Let’s take a look at the roster.
(Note: Players will be listed with name, age and team(s) played on in 2015-16. An asterisk after a player’s name means he’s participating in the World Cup of Hockey later this month.)
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Spencer Abbott, 28, Frolunda (SHL)
Artem Anisimov*, 28, Blackhawks
Tyler Barnes, 26, Missouri (ECHL)/Bridgeport (AHL)
Kyle Baun, 24, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Radovan Bondra, 19, Vancouver (WHL)
Sam Carrick, 24, Toronto/Toronto (AHL)
Bryn Chyzyk, 23, North Dakota (NCAA)
John Dahlstrom, 19, Frolunda (SHL)
Alex DeBrincat, 18, Erie (OHL)
Andrew Desjardins, 30, Blackhawks
Chris DeSousa, 25, Indianapolis (ECHL)/Rockford (AHL)
Jake Dowell, 31, Rockford (AHL)
Alexandre Fortin, 19, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Ryan Hartman, 21, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Vincent Hinostroza, 22, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Marian Hossa*, 37, Blackhawks
Luke Johnson, 21, North Dakota (NCAA)
Patrick Kane*, 27, Blackhawks
Tanner Kero, 24, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Graham Knott, 19, Niagara (OHL)
Marcus Kruger*, 26, Blackhawks
Pierre-Cedric, Labrie, 29, Rockford (AHL)
Jeremy Langlois, 26, San Jose (AHL)
Martin Lundberg, 26, Skelleftea (SHL)
Brandon Mashinter, 27, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Mark McNeill, 23, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Trevor Mingoia, 24, Albany (AHL), Providence (NCAA)
Evan Mosey, 27, Nottingham (ECHL)
Tyler Motte, 21, Rockford (AHL), Michigan (NCAA)
Nathan Noel, 19, Saint John (QMJHL)
Artemi Panarin*, 24, Blackhawks
Richard Panik, 25, Blackhawks/Toronto (AHL)
Roy Radke, 19, Barrie (OHL)
Dennis Rasmussen, 26, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Nick Schmaltz, 20, North Dakota (NCAA)
Jonathan Toews*, 28, Blackhawks
Jordin Tootoo, 33, New Jersey
Brian Campbell, 37, Florida
Jonathan Carlsson, 28, Rockford (AHL), Evansville (ECHL)
Carl Dahlstrom, 21, Rockford (AHL), Linkoping (SHL)
Gustav Forsling, 20, Linkoping (SHL)
Dillon Fournier, 22, Rockford (AHL), Indianapolis (ECHL)
Erik Gustafsson, 24, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Niklas Hjalmarsson*, 29, Blackhawks
Duncan Keith, 33, Blackhawks
Michal Kempny*, 26, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
Nick Mattson, 24, Rockford (AHL), Indianapolis (ECHL)
Robin Norell, 21, Rockford (AHL), Djugardens (SHL)
Ville Pokka*, 22, Rockford (AHL)
Michal Rozsival, 38, Blackhawks
Cameron Schilling, 27, Rockford (AHL)
Brent Seabrook, 31, Blackhawks
Viktor Svedberg, 25, Blackhawks/Rockford (AHL)
Nolan Valleau, 23, Rockford (AHL)
Trevor van Riemsdyk, 25, Blackhawks
Mac Carruth, 24, Rockford (AHL), Indianapolis (ECHL)
Corey Crawford*, 31, Blackhawks
Scott Darling, 27, Blackhawks
Jake Hildebrand, 23, Allen (ECHL), Michigan State (NCAA)
Lars Johansson, 29, Frolunda (SHL)
Eric Levine, 28, Utah (ECHL), Colorado (ECHL), Pensacola (SPHL), Louisiana (SPHL)
What to make of this year’s roster
The first thing to know is all of the guys with an asterisk next to their names will not be with the team at the start of training camp. The World Cup starts Sept. 17, while training camp starts the 23rd at the United Center.
There are some promising young names on this year’s roster, as is the norm. Two of the Blackhawks’ 2016 draft picks are around: DeBrincat (39th overall) and Noel (113th overall).
Also involved will be some familiar younger faces who have a fighting chance of making the opening night roster. Hartman, Hinostroza, Kero and McNeill are all forwards who could be on the bottom six for the opener against St. Louis. There are also even younger guys like Schmaltz and Motte who have a chance.
On the defensive and goaltending sides, there won’t be as much competition for the actual opening night roster. The Blackhawks seems pretty well set with who they want to use at those positions this season.
Still, guys like Forsling, Fournier, Dahlstrom and Norell will be fun to watch on the camp blue line. Same for Pokka when he returns from the World Cup.
The goaltenders don’t offer a lot to look forward to. Wouter Peeters, the goaltender the Blackhawks drafted this year, will not be in attendance. Chicago has an obviously week farm system in the goaltending department, so the hope will be that someone other than Crow and Darling stands out.