The Blackhawks have released a general preview for camp that looks at the numbers. It’s full of interesting and sometimes quirky facts, and it offers a great opportunity for me to open my own preview by looking at some numbers of my own. Out of the 27 forwards attending prospect camp, 14 are Free Agent Invitees–which means the remaining 13 are in the Blackhawks’ system. 14 of those 27 have been playing college hockey, 2 played in the USHL, 1 in the WHL, 2 in the OHL, 1 in high school, 1 in the QMJHL, and the remaining 6 come from European Leagues (1 SM-Liiga, 3 MHL, 1 SEL, 1 SUI-JR). Of the 6 Illinoisans attending camp, 4 of them are forwards. The forwards have one of the notable legacy attendees–right wing Chris Calnan, the Blackhawks’ 79th overall draft pick this year, who just happens to be Jeremy Roenick’s nephew.
Now let’s take a look at the forward attendees one-by-one:
The only prospect attending camp to have played in the NHL, Brandon Saad played four games with the Blackhawks last year: two in the regular season in two during playoffs. I was in attendance during one of those games, and I must say that watching him play with Hossa was incredible. 19-year-old Saad demonstrated a high hockey IQ, especially when it comes to reading the play and making sure he’s in position. His stats from the OHL also attest to his skills, as he led the league in scoring last season with 1.73 points per game. The great thing about Saad is that he doesn’t just have potential–he plays at the level that his individual abilities would suggest. He did not look out of place among the Blackhawks in size (he’s 6’1″ and 208 pounds) or skill, and I’m hoping we’ll get to see more of him this upcoming season. If nothing else, the Pittsbugh native got to take the stage at CONSOL Energy Center this year, announcing the Blackhawks’ first round pick Teuvo Teravainen and probably getting to meet Mario Lemieux.
Currently playing for Bowling Green, Free Agent Invitee Berkle accumulated 21 points over 44 games last season with 7 goals and 14 assists. Before joining BGSU, Berkle was a part of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms from 2009 to 2011. He captained the team during his second season there, as he had previously done for his high school team. I’m pretty excited to have a young player with proven leadership qualities spending some time with the other prospects, and I’m interested to see how he’ll use his 6’2″ frame. Another Pennsylvanian, Berkle has stated that his favorite team is the Flyers and that he models his game after Jeff Carter, and that physical, aggressive style is something that the Hawks could use some more of. He’ll be one to watch during scrimmages.
Free Agent Invitee Bonis boasts a 9-year playing career at 23–and shows signs of improving steadily. After two low-point seasons in his first two years at Ferris State (6 and 13 points, respectively), Bonis exploded this past year, notching 19 goals and 12 assists for a total of 31 points in 43 games. He also clocked 18 penalty minutes, his second-highest total. He’s also shown to be articulate and willing to talk to the press on his own, as he did in this post game conference. At 5’11″ and a 175 he’s a little slight, but the left winger has shown he knows what he needs to do to be effective.
The Blackhawks 7th round pick last year, Broadhurst is more familiar to Hawks fans as one-half of the Broadhurst duo (one of the four sets of brothers to go through the Blackhawks’ system recently). The 6’0″ center has put on two inches and 15 pounds over the past season, addressing what has been said to be his major deterrent: his size. He’s shown to be quick and precise in his puck-handling, and he helped lead the Green Bay Gamblers to the 2012 Anderson and Clark cups. One of his highlights from last season in the USHL was his shorthanded hat trick on April 24 against Youngstown. He makes it look easy! Hockey’s Future has him committing to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the next season and he’s not on the Gamblers’ website, so changes are in the horizon for the younger Broadhurst as he follows his brother’s footsteps.
Much like Jimmy Hayes last year, Terry Broadhurst was acquired by the Blackhawks to round out the set after they drafted his younger brother Alex. He made his professional debut last March with the IceHogs, earning his first pro point with an assist in his second game. Before that, he had 13 points in 11 games with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He’s been shown to play larger than his 5’11″ frame, and in the few games we got to see him with the IceHogs he looked comfortable and ready to contribute.
Calnan’s greatest claim to fame right now is that he’s Jeremy Roenick’s nephew–but there’s a lot more to the Massachusetts native than his Blackhawks connection. For starters, his size: the 18-year-old is already 6’2″ and, while his 187 pounds don’t fill out his frame, bulking up is unlikely to be a problem. Then there’s his play: he’s said to “have a rough-and-tumble style that made the Bruins take notice,” which is music to my ears. He’s got options as to where he’ll play this next season, and he’s committed to Boston College starting in 2013 (adding to our apparent BC dynasty!). The third round pick is extremely excited about coming to the Hawks, as I saw for myself when I got to speak to him for a few minutes after the draft, and he seems eager to prove himself. I’m looking forward to seeing what the self-described “power forward” can do first hand.
This finance major finished his first season at Bowling Green making a name for himself: he led the team in assists (19) and points (30) and was one of only four to play all 44 games. He also earned CCHA Rookie Of The Week twice during the season as well as the Bowling Green Rookie Of The Year Award and Sam Cooper Award for the leading scorer. Personally, I’m excited because he finished the season with a +2–something that a lot of our forwards seem unable to do. Prior to joining the Falcons, Carpenter played two years for the Sioux City Musketeers, where he scored 23 goals and 44 assists (67 pts) in 117 career games.
The Union Sophomore followed his “standout freshman campaign,” in which he notched 20 goals (12 on the power play, who does that?!) and 15 assists to achieve 35 points, by notching 20 goals and 20 assists in 41 games last season. His freshman career also included being named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team, leading the Dutchmen in goal-scoring and power play goals, and he finished second in the nation in PPG, leading ECAC Hockey. As the interrobang above might’ve informed you, I’m dying of excitement at the thought of someone who can score on the power play!
I got to see Danault last year at camp shortly after his draft, and he was impressive to watch for such a young one. The first-rounder showed to be a swift, smooth skater, and his positioning was solid in the scrimmage I got to watch. The young Québécois has spent the last three seasons playing for his hometown Q team, the Victoriaville Tigres–and his scoring totals have steadily increased from 28 to 67 and then 71 points per season! He also received the Guy Carbonneau Trophy for the best defensive forward in the QMJHL, which bodes well for the winger. Most forwards develop their defensive game later in their career, so a young forward with proven two-way abilities is an exciting possibility.
Kyle de Laurell
I’ll admit that I’m 100% team de Laurell because he “listens to Rise Against before games” and he’s in the academy of my favorite branch in the armed forces, the Air Force. Irrelevant reasons aside, de Laurell brings an increasing point total over the past three seasons with the Air Force Falcons and the John Matchefts Award for his team’s top freshman in 2010. He was also named to the Atlantic Hockey First Team last season. What’s most intriguing about de Laurell is that he has been focused on a difficult major, on future plans regarding his education, on military training, and on hockey, and it doesn’t seem like any of his endeavors have suffered. If that doesn’t show a great work ethic at 22, I’m not sure that will!
Fun fact: if you Google Dan Delisle, the first result is a retired hockey player who was born in 1976. A couple of results later you find Dan DeLisle, and you’ve found the Hawks prospect you were looking for in the first place! Once you’ve found him, the most striking thing about DeLisle is also the most obvious: his size. At 6’5″ and over 220 pounds, the forward looks imposing in the ice, but his game doesn’t always match. He’s solid on his feet but not too slow, and he uses his long reach to gain control of the puck with ease–but he doesn’t use his size as much as he could. The best way I can describe him is by equating him to Viktor Stalberg: DeLisle’s got style and he’s smart on the ice, but his scoring touch isn’t entirely there and he often skates smaller than he actually is.
Returning to camp for his third year, Hayes can boast of having doubled his point total in his sophomore season at BC as well as improving his plus-minus by a whopping 12 points: he finished at -3 his freshman season and +9 this past season. When he was drafted, the report pointed out that he wasn’t as dominant as he could be at the prep school level, which is cause for concern, and it’s something that we’ll be looking at this camp. Has he finally grown out of the stage where he holds on to the puck for too long and passes too much instead of making himself a net presence? And then there is, of course, the inevitable comparison to his older brother Jimmy, one of my favorites–the age difference is only obvious because Jimmy’s a smoother skater and more effective at using his size, but that’s nothing that time won’t fix for Kevin.
Fresh draftee Hinostroza has a lot of reasons to be excited for camp, especially since he’s a hometown boy. Last season, he doubled his points total during his second season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, going from 22 to 44. He also improved his plus-minus from -1 to 11 and his points-per-game from 0.44 to 0.80. Described as a “middle of the road” player, Hinostroza’s size (5’9″ and less than 160 pounds) may have also been a factor in his draft ranking (he was taken 169th overall in the 6th round), but he’s confident that his work ethic will make up for it. We’ve seen small forwards take the camp by surprise before, so Hinostroza will be one to watch.
Swiss Hollenstein is a bit of an enigma to me. The 22-year-old boasts two years in the OHL with the Guelph Storm (2007-2009) before returning to Switzerland, where he’s spent most of his time playing for the Kloten Flyers of the National League A. His numbers with Kloten have been inconsistent, but he represented Switzerland at this year’s Worlds. Fun fact: He and his younger brother Marc take after their father Felix, who played for Kloten from 1985 to 2001.
That’s Mix In-DRAW-SHEEZ, if you’re curious–he was interviewed by Hockey’s Future during Worlds and was kind enough to provide a pronunciation guide. The Latvian forward makes quite an impression; I remember him opening the scoring against Russia at Worlds and moving with confidence and ease on the ice. He hasn’t been drafted but he’s played in several leagues in Russia, including the KHL. There’s not a lot of data on him for me to base any conclusions just yet, but if his showing at Worlds is anything to go by, I’ll have plenty to say by the end of my two days at camp.
Winnetka native and Darthmouth legacy Lindblad is coming to camp hoping to make a splash. He battled several injuries to complete his second season and still managed to tie for team lead with six multi-point games, as well as finished with a +9, second highest on the Big Green. Before Dartmouth, he played for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, notching 24 goals and 46 assists for a total of 70 points in 57 games, so that he finished near the top of the league in scoring and points. Even before that, he was alternate captain on New Trier’s team. He’s shown leadership as well as a strong two-way game and he was only called for one penalty last season, so he’ll be an interesting addition to the mix.
The Brown freshman had a rather quiet first season with the Bears on the tails of two strong seasons with the Villanova Knights of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he posted 78 and 82 points, respectively. Before that, he received the Ashton Morrison Award for Rookie of the Year while playing with the St. Catharines Falcons of the GOJHL in 2008-09. He played both soccer and hockey in high school and was assistant captain on his hockey team, which speaks of his ability to multitask while maintaining focus and showing leadership. He’s on the smaller side (5’9″), as are several of the forwards invited, but the 22-year-old is looking to make a splash. If his Twitter is any indication, he’d fit right in with our boys!
If you did a double-take, you’re not alone–but this Chris Martin is nothing like the mellow British crooner he shares a name with. For starters, his hockey fight card was one of the first results in the Google Search, and the videos proved that he can hold his own. At 6’1″ his height is average among forwards but on the higher side for the forwards that will be attending camp with him. He paid his dues in the CJHL and USHL for two years each before joining the St. Lawrence Saints last season, where he posted 26 points and 30 penalty minutes over 36 games. He also has a hilarious Twitter, made all the more awesome by the background photo.
The Blackhawks’ first round pick last year, McNeill was also selected by Vityaz Chekhov in the KHL Junior Draft. Never fear–he’s spent the past four years with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL, and it seems that he may remain there unless he makes the big team, which he talked about a lot during last prospect camp. His skills were not lacking during camp and he made an impression–but the issue remained, as it often is with young players, a matter of consistency. He was efficient but not always as focused as he could be, and despite the Hawks’ needs at center he was sent to mature a bit more for another season. We’ll see if he can bridge the gap this year.
Tied for oldest camp attendant at 24, McParland is hoping to make an impression among the young ones. He’s spent the past three seasons with the Lake Superior State Lakers, steadily improving his points total and penalty minutes: from 6 to 10 to 27 and 10 to 23 to 33, respectively. Prior to that, he spent some time in the OPJHL with the Oakville Blades, also showing growth in his game. There’s not a lot of information on McParland so far, so I’ll make sure to keep an eye on him to see what I can learn from watching him practice.
Yes, another one from BC. It’s like we’re collecting Eagles over here. Mullane has just finished his junior campaign with the Eagles, and he has been cited as one of the reasons the team advanced to the Frozen Four. Aside from their triumph as a team, Mullane has shown resiliency overcoming personal tragedy as well as struggles with his weight and speed. At 5’11″ and 190 pounds, Mullane seems to be at a comfortable size–and his exploits at BC characterize him as a player who’s ready for the big time… once he graduates, that is.
Shopping jokes aside, it’s good to see Nordstrom back on the roster. At 6’1″ he could stand to be more physical, and his 176-pound frame still needs some strengthening and filling out–but Nordstrom’s command of the ice is still unmistakable. He’s a two-way player that reminds me a bit of a younger Jordan Staal (and not just in physical resemblance), and he looked comfortable setting up plays for teammates during scrimmages last year. He’s spent this last season doing some jumping between leagues in Sweden, but we’re hoping to see him spend some time in Elitserien (the top Swedish league).
Plotnikov has spent the past three seasons with CSKA-Krasnaja Armija Moskva in the Russian MHL, becoming league champions in 2011. His points total has decreased through those seasons, but we know that numbers never tell the whole story of a player’s contributions on the ice. We’ll have to see what he can do.
If you’ve Googled him, there’s one thing you learned very quickly: Garret Ross likes to fight! It took two search refinements and a trip to the second results page before I found some information that didn’t involve an article or video of him dropping the gloves. (This is in no way a complaint, for the record.) Selected by the Hawks in the fifth round this year, Ross has spent the past three seasons with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. His points total improved between his first two seasons (11 to 15) and then skyrocketed this last one (54!). His penalties decreased, however, which might indicate that he’s maturing and being more disciplined. Let’s see if he’ll pull a Shawzer and drop the gloves during camp… hopefully he won’t pull a Beachy and break a Norwegian on the first day. (Sorry, Mathis–we miss you.)
The first three things that come to mind when it comes to Schmit: #1 WHAT A HIPSTER, #2 his Twitter is hilar, #3 awww he’s teammates with Kyle Bonis! That said, he’s finished his four years at Ferris State with steadily improving stats and awards almost every year–including a Dean’s Academic Award during his sophomore year and the Steve Banonis Memorial Most Improved Player, Scholar-Athlete Awards, FSU President’s Academic Award for team’s highest cumulative GPA in his junior year. We’ll see what he brings to the ice…
This tall Russian is one of the most appealing foreign players coming to camp because of his size and his already-very-North-American play. Drafted last year by the Hawks in the 4th round, Shalunov has continued developing in Russia and is hoping to have a bigger role in the KHL, but thus far he’s only played in one KHL game the season before last. His numbers with the MHL have been steadily increasing, and there’s a chance that we’ll see him do more either here or abroad very soon.
First things first: yes, I did meet Teuvo at the draft and yes, he is just as precious and ESL as his appearance would suggest. Yet despite being soft-spoken and a little timid when we approached him, he had a firm handshake and he was excited about wearing the Indianhead sweater. I have to admit–I’m excited too! The compact first-round pick had a solid first half-season with Jokerit in the highest Finnish league, SM-Liiga (where our recently-departed Sami Lepisto also played!), posting 20 points in the 11 games he played. He was ranked second among European skaters and has been compared to Patrick Kane in terms of skill despite his small stature, so he will be an asset down the road–even if he’s not addressing some of the needs the Blackhawks have right now. It will be interesting to see how he will develop and whether he will return to Jokerit this next season.