No. 6: Youngsters Get A Chance
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville sometimes has a reputation of not giving younger players a fair shake. Some fans were upset when guys like Jeremy Morin, Brandon Pirri and Teuvo Teravainen (and even Brandon Saad for a time) were stapled to the bench in favor of established-but-meh veterans or “grinders.”
Well, there’s nothing we can say about Q not giving the youngsters he has at his disposal a shot early in the 2016-17 season. Tyler Motte, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman, Vincent Hinostroza, Gustav Forsling and Tanner Kero have all seen action with the Blackhawks, with varying results.
The good has been guys like Hartman and Hinostroza taking over second-/third-/fourth-line roles and helping on the scoresheet. Motte has had strong moments as well, while guys like Schmaltz and Forsling have seen their struggles.
But it’s the fact they’re getting a shot, and it’s not just one game and shipped out (paging Mark McNeill). And it’s the fact the Blackhawks are still putting up points while these guys are getting a shot. It bodes really well for the present and the future.