Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: Young Players And Draft Positioning
By Colin Likas
This week’s Chicago Blackhawks roundtable will take a look at players who will be in their sophomore seasons very soon, as well as what the Blackhawks need to do in the 2017 NHL Draft
This blog, among other blogs and Chicago Blackhawks fans, has given coach Joel Quenneville the occasional flack for not giving some young players a shot at various times since he took over in 2008. But in the 2016-17 season, Coach Q flipped that stigma out of necessity.
Plenty of guys wound up with their first legitimate NHL action as a result of the Blackhawks being salary cap-strapped yet again. Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz, Gustav Forsling, Michal Kempny, Vinnie Hinostroza, Tanner Kero and Tyler Motte all saw extended looks on hockey’s biggest stage after not having such an opportunity before.
There’s no doubt many of these guys, if not all of them, will be very important pieces for the Blackhawks moving forward. The cap doesn’t project to rise a whole lot in the immediate future, and the Blackhawks are likely better off building from within right now than trying to find more temporary stopgaps on the open market (which has failed mightily in recent seasons).
Today, as part of our Chicago Blackhawks roundtable, we’ll be taking a look at some of these guys who are preparing for their sophomore seasons in Chicago — so long as they make the roster out of training camp. Here are today’s official roundtable questions:
Question 1: Which Blackhawks whose first season on the team was 2016-17 do you feel is most important to next season’s team and why?
Question 2: What position would you like to see the Blackhawks focus on most during the NHL draft and why?
Let’s see what our esteemed panel of writers had to say this week.