Rockford IceHogs’ Roster Taking Shape For 2017-18
By Sean Fitzgerald
While all eyes are focused on the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster, the Rockford IceHogs’ roster is starting to take shape
The Chicago Blackhawks announced Alexandre Fortin had been reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs after the Blackhawks’ Saturday night preseason game with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Fortin was a dark-horse candidate to make the Blackhawks; however, an offseason surgery held him back.
The ‘Hawks decided to be cautious with Fortin and only played him in one preseason game. After the game, the ‘Hawks resigned him to Rockford. There has been no surprise reassignment for the Blackhawks thus far for his training camp.
In addition to reassigning Fortin, the ‘Hawks waived Viktor Svedberg. Svedberg must clear waivers before joining the IceHogs.
Fortin now joins Anthony Louis, Graham Knott, Matthew Highmore, Matheson Iacopelli, Luke Johnson, Carl Dahlstrom and Robin Norell in Rockford. Louis, Knott and Highmore will begin their first full seasons at Rockford next season.
Glance at some future Hogs
Louis was impressive in his PTO with the ‘Hogs prior. He had 1 goal and 2 assists in 13 games.
Knott helped the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires win the Memorial Cup and had played in the CHL top prospect game in 2014-15. His OHL numbers were 60/99/159 in 250 games with Windsor and the Niagara IceDogs.
Da Windy City
Highmore helped the Saint Johns Seadogs to the QHJML championship last season. He finished his QHJML career with a 90/157/247 slashline in 289 games, all with the SeaDogs.
What a difference a year makes
The IceHogs are going to have more talented young prospects to watch and follow. This year is going to be drastically different from last year, when the only offensive prospects were Spencer Abbott and Mark McNeill.
Abbott was a mid-20s guys who is a tweener at best. McNeill was never going to a find a home with the Blackhawks and ultimately needed to go. Both players were traded out of the organization last season.
If the Blackhawks’ play at the NHL rookie tournament was any indication of how the Hogs could play this year, the Hogs could have a good year in the AHL. It is a new day in Rockford with more talented players going to joining them later this preseason.
The Hogs will also have some veterans in Kyle Baun and Jeff Glass. Both have cleared waivers.
What about DeBrincat?
The ‘Hawks have moved training camp from the United Center to Compton Family Ice Arena at the University of Notre Dame this week. The player everyone has been watching this camp, Alex DeBrincat is still with the club.
‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has stated that DeBrincat will get one more road preseason game, per Scott Powers.
I think DeBrincat makes the roster to start the season because of his chemistry with the new second line of Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz. We shall see how it all shakes out.
Next: Blackhawks Offseason What-Ifs
The ‘Hawks’ next preseason game is today at 6 p.m. against the Boston Bruins.