The Chicago Blackhawks are getting old. The familiar faces we could rely on any day of the year are showing signs of age. With that being said, here are five prospects the Chicago Blackhawks will desperately need in the future.
5. Carl Dahlstrom
It’s obvious that one of the biggest worries is how the Chicago Blackhawks’ defense will look in the future. Right now, we’re seeing a decline in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, who are the backbone on this team.
For the past 10 years, they’ve been the go-to guys on the defensive end. With Niklas Hjalmarsson gone after being known as a go-to guy as well, the future of the ‘Hawks’ defense seems bleak.
Carl Dahlstrom, who was obtained via the 2013 draft as the ‘Hawks’ second-round pick, is a big name who can lead the future, alongside another defenseman who’ll be named later on in the article. Dahlstrom is 6-foot-4 with a shutdown-style defensive attitude, but he’s also not afraid to step up on the blue line and contribute offensively. To me, he sounds like a mini-Seabrook.
Dahlstrom has three goals and 17 assists in 41 games with the Rockford IceHogs this year, attributed with an astounding plus-13 rating. He’s definitely a player to watch as he grows within the AHL, but something tells me we’ll be seeing him sooner rather than later.
4. Dylan Sikura
The Blackhawks have kept a keen eye on the star-studded senior at Northeastern University. Drafted in the sixth round in 2014, Sikura has been a face the Blackhawks can use as on option as the center of the third or fourth line.
Granted, with plenty of options, the ‘Hawks are using Artem Anisimov and David Kampf as the third- and fourth-line centers presently. It doesn’t take back the idea that they need help.
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Another problem is the depth within the team. As the roster goes further, the Blackhawks lack familiarity down the stretch. However, with Sikura maturing in the NCAA, where he has 13 goals and 22 assists in 22 games, he has shown to be a promising lead into what this team could be down the road.
The Blackhawks have even shown interest in giving him a shot at the roster later in 2018, which most likely means at the start of the 2018-19 season.
3. Jeff Glass
Even though he’s not a prospect right now, Jeff Glass was an unfamiliar face whom no one expected to be there to save the day. We expected Anton Forsberg, who originally came in to replace backup goaltender Scott Darling, to save the day. However, with consistency problems, the Blackhawks have relied on Glass to take the starting position in absence of Corey Crawford.
Crawford’s future is uncertain right now, especially with the plenty of rumors we’ve heard during his “undisclosed” injury. This means we have one guy to rely on, and that’s Glass. If Crawford is to miss more time after this year, the Blackhawks will need him to step up.
Glass currently has an 8-3-3 record with a 3.35 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. He’s only played nine games in relief of Crow, but its’ an important role he’s had to take, and it hasn’t been easy. However, when things settle and he’s in charge of the role as the backup, or starter, depending on Crawford’s situation, he’ll be the face to turn to.
2. Alexandre Fortin
There’s nothing like hearing “Chelsea Dagger” at the United Center after a goal is scored. One prospect who can make that happen more often, is Alexandre Fortin.
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Fortin is currently under contract with the Blackhawks, where he’s been spending his days in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs. Fortin nearly cracked the roster last September, but an injury closed that door for him for the time being.
With the IceHogs, Fortin has three goals and 10 assists in 34 games, which may seem misleading. However, it doesn’t retract the fact he has an unbelievable amount of talent and raw potential. Fortin is a left winger who adds strength and diversity in creativity where it’s needed. He’s the perfect addition to a young line, and would be great company on a line that seems to be struggling.
If I’m going to be honest, he’d look fantastic with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. He may be the next big puzzle piece to reconnect the chemistry between those two.
1. Henri Jokiharju
Try saying that three times real fast.
Henri Jokiharju is looking fantastic with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL, where he has seven goals and 37 assists in 38 games. Not to mention he’s a plus-28 in that time-span.
Jokiharju is the next defenseman. He has a god-given gift at the point, where he can shut down any defenseman as well as creep up to the blue line for a nasty slap shot. If there’s anything the ‘Hawks need, it’s more dependable faces on the blue line. Things are looking decent with Jordan Oesterle, Michal Kempny and Erik Gustafsson, but there is more that is needed.
With a promising future and a great WHL resume, Jokiharju is most likely going to crack the roster as soon as his stint with the Winterhawks ends. He’s going to bring great opportunity as one of the better defenseman at a low-cost.
We’re lucky to look forward to him.