It's CAMP DAY!
It's exciting to see the Blackhawks best prospects all in the same place; The best of the best of the future for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Hawks prospect development camp goes from today until Thursday.
While it's not the exciting scrimmage-based event of the past, the fans will still get to see these players show off their stuff. There will also be some interesting storylines to watch throughout the week.
First off, if you haven't had a chance to check out the roster, here ya go:
Now, let's jump into my 5 things to watch:
1) All eyes on Mitchell
– Ian Mitchell has been the talk of the town apparently since the Henri Jokiharju deal went down.
It is believed that Bowman and the Hawks scouts feel that Mitchell and Boqvist had jumped Jokiharju on their internal depth chart of right-handed defensive prospects.
I asked around a bit and based on what I'm hearing and what makes sense on the Mitchell situation:
* Hawks to discuss contract this week. Mitchell's camp seems pleased that his path has a clearer lane with the Jokiharju's departure.
* Mitchell has already committed to Univ. of Denver which, sure, he can go back on... but all I've heard is this kid is a pure team player and a man of his word. He chose to go back to NCAA to Captain his team and take that next step to be a dominant player.
* The meeting this week will surely be about his future with the team and any word of a contract would be more to get him playing in Chicago in the spring, not at the start of the season.
2) Eyes also on Boqvist
– there is a lot of talk that Adam Boqvist will head to Rockford vs. the London Knights.
I started to suggest the same thing a couple of months ago as it just made sense for CHI to keep Boqvist closer to them and by being in Rockford, he's one phone call away.
Let's say Erik Gustafsson goes down with an injury, who's the most likely to come in to fill his spot on a short-term basis? Boqvist.
The Hawks may want to see Boqvist in some NHL games this year as well to see if he's ready. Gustafsson is a UFA this summer and the Hawks will need to make a decision on him. If his replacement is ready – or close to – that could change some things.
3) Off-Ice Observers
– there are three prospects who won't be skating this week. I'm assuming it's all due to injuries, but that hasn't been confirmed.
The players are Niklas Nordgren, Even Barratt and Dominik Kubalik.
Barratt is a guy that I would have loved to see but knew that he was out with an injury. Here's hoping he has a strong year at Penn State again. He'll be another year older and hopefully heads to Rockford for the 2020-21 season.
Nordgren already seems injury prone. He wasn't able to play in the WJHC tournament for Finland and he's out again, unable to skate in the camp. Hopefully, he can stay healthy for a long period of time so the Hawks European scouts can get an extended look at him.
Kubalik will have a great shot at making the Blackhawks out of training camp. He's a bit older (23) so missing this camp isn't vital. Should he play in the Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, that's when we'll get a great look at his skills.
4) Dach Watch
– Kirby Dach will get a lot of attention this week. I'm sure we'll hear a lot of "he's a big guy" talk, but I'm more interested in what he brings in terms of skill and drive.
I've heard Stan Bowman would love nothing more than for Dach to make the Hawks this year and to make an impact right away.
This seems obvious due to the fact that this pick was met with some criticism. I'm sure Stan would love nothing more than to shush the naysayers.
With that being said, Dach's arrival into the NHL will be up to Colliton and his coaching staff.
5) Nylander, Alex reporting for duty
– newly acquired Alexander Nylander has joined the camp and will be out to show off to his new team.
His skills are evident and it sounds like if this kid can put the effort in and commit himself to get better every game, he could be one heck of a player.
The thing is, it seemed like he had that opportunity in Buffalo, so let's see if he gets off on the right foot in Chicago.
I'll be back with more camp tidbits and random rumors/thoughts throughout the week.
See ya out there!