Chicago Blackhawks: Notes From Day Two of Prospect Camp

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 17: Chicago Blackhawks prospects participates during the Chicago Blachawks Development Camp on July 17, 2017 at Johnny's IceHouse in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 17: Chicago Blackhawks prospects participates during the Chicago Blachawks Development Camp on July 17, 2017 at Johnny's IceHouse in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Day two of Blackhawks prospect camp unveiled some unexpected talent in the system

Walking into Johnny’s Ice House for prospect camp today felt surreal.  I had only attended one other prospect camp before back in 2011 but this one seemed eerily similar.  The practice jerseys were the same, the echos of pucks ricocheting off glass filled the air the same way, and the immense pressure on these young players felt the exact same.

Last time I watched Hawks prospect camp, I was amazed by 2010 draft pick Kevin Hayes and his stick handling ability for a big guy.  He was that second line center we’ve always needed, I thought.  Attending these camps is so interesting because all you’re working with is potential.  But watching a player grow in a system and flourish is an amazing sight to see.

This time around, I wanted to see more than one person.  I had my sights set on Alex DeBrincat,  Henri Jokiharju, and Graham Knott.  But on day two, it wasn’t about them.  It was about other players in the Blackhawks system who knew what the coaches were looking for maybe from previous experience.  It was clear to me the few that stood out over the others.

Here are some notes on a couple of players I that caught my eye today:

Beau Starrett and Randovan Bondra

  • I was really excited for these two coming into camp.  Both standing in at 6’5, I was hoping for some dominant puck possession in a camp full of small guys.  Although Bondra did have his way with Alex DeBrincat in 1on1 drills (see below), he and Starrett still look like they need a little more development.  Like a big man in basketball, they need to stick to the paint and live in it.  Starrett had some good vision in rush drills for what it’s worth.  Hopefully we can see more elements of their games as the week goes on.

Matheson Iacopelli

  • I’ve been high on Iacopelli since I saw him play in Denver for the Western Michigan Broncos.  One of the first things I noticed when I got to camp was his snap-shot.  Iacopelli showed great precision in his shooting, good speed, and his stick-handling was very noticeable.  Although he hasn’t been able to finish that much, he’s definitely turning heads with his size and ability.

Chicago Blackhawks

Robin Press

  • I had not seen a lot of Robin Press until today, but what I saw I liked.  He reminded me a lot of Ryan Ellis from Nashville.  Decent size, physical up front, and scrappy breaking up plays.  In odd-man rush drills, it wasn’t long before Press broke up the play and got a whistle.  The Blackhawks don’t have many guys like Press in their system after trading Stephen Johns which makes him stand out among the others.

Chad Krys

    • The Boston Terrier defenseman had a pretty good session at camp today.  It seemed that every play when Krys was on the ice, offense was being generated or the puck was turned over and advanced up the ice by Krys.  His smooth skating and ability to evade forechecking forwards helped Krys make the breakout seem flawless.  The Hawks love this kind of player who can be reliable in the defensive zone and get the puck up quickly.

Ian Mitchell

  • Good news Hawks fans, this kid can straight up play.  His passing is very smooth, he can hang with any forward in the defensive zone, and he didn’t look out of place at all today.  Going to the University of Denver to play with the National Champions will only make him better.  He and Evan Barratt looked very comfortable battling with other prospects today, especially for being rookies.

Next: Analyzing Brandon Saad's Two Seasons Away From Chicago

Roy Radke and Jack Ramsey

  • One thing that crossed my mind during Group B’s session was if there was the possibility of a fight this year at prospect camp.  Sometimes competition boils over and fellow prospects drop the gloves.  It dawned on me that maybe those types of players weren’t prevalent in this camp, but then I paid attention to Ray Radke and Jack Ramsey.  Both are similar guys at 6’3 200lbs, but they play much bigger.  Both guys were very vocal on the ice while showing flashes of skill and being very physical.  If I got one thing out of day two, it was that the Blackhawks need guys like this on the team.  They need communicators, grinders, and fearless forwards willing to do anything for their team.  I’m not saying the Blackhawks need guys to fight, I’m saying they need guys that play physical and walk that line.  Look for Radke and Ramsey to continue increasing the intensity throughout the week, especially in scrimmages Friday.