Camp offers peek at Chicago Blackhawks' future
We're still two months away from Chicago Blackhawks training camp, but fans who want to get a look at the future will have five chances to do so this week as the team holds its development camp at Fifth Third Arena.
On-ice sessions are scheduled to run from 1:30-5:05 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 12:30-3:30 on Wednesday. There is a scrimmage set for 9:30 a.m. Friday.
While many eyes will be on Kirby Dach, whom the Hawks selected third overall in June's draft, there are a handful of others who have a chance of cracking the roster this season.
Chief among them are:
• Forward Alex Nylander: Acquired in a trade with Buffalo in exchange for Henri Jokiharju last week, Nylander should be the second-most watched forward behind Dach. Taken eighth overall by the Sabres in 2016, Nylander scored 12 goals in 49 games in the AHL and also scored twice in 12 games for Buffalo last season.
Nylander has only managed to play in 19 NHL games in three years, which is a concern to some considering his lofty draft position. General manager Stan Bowman, though, believes the best is yet to come.
"The thing that's appealing to us is when you look at what he does when he's at his best, it's stuff that you can't teach," Bowman said. "It's high-end talent."
Bowman went on to say consistency has been Nylander's biggest issue.
"We do see progression in his game, and we think we can help him become a consistent performer," Bowman said. "A very exciting skill set that he brings to the table."
• Defenseman Adam Boqvist: Selected eighth overall in 2018, Boqvist racked up 20 goals in 54 regular-season games in the Quebec Juniors and pounded home another 10 in just 11 postseason games. Eight of those came on the power play, many on wicked wrist shots.
The prevailing thought is the 18-year-old needs another year to develop his skills, but he was so impressive last September that it looked for a while like he might make the team.
This is a big week for Boqvist, but we'll really see how far he has come when he's on the ice with Duncan Keith, Connor Murphy, Brent Seabrook and the rest of the 'D' corps in September.
• Defenseman Ian Mitchell: The Hawks are short on right-shot D-men, which might give Mitchell an edge. Taken in the second round (57th overall) in 2017, Mitchell scored 6 goals and had 21 assists in 39 games at the University of Denver last season.
• Defenseman Nicolas Beaudin: He will be an interesting player to watch this season as he likely begins his pro career in Rockford. The 19-year-old has plenty of offensive talent, but he must continue to hone his defensive skills before making the jump to the NHL.
Others to keep an eye on include forwards Mackenzie Entwistle (acquired in the Vinnie Hinostroza trade last year); Philipp Kurashev (29 goals in Quebec Juniors); defensemen Joshua Ess (who is shining at Wisconsin and received rave reviews from coach Tony Granato); Chad Krys (a second-round pick in 2016 who should help anchor the IceHogs' back end); and Alex Vlasic (the 6-foot-6, 200-pound Wilmette native who was taken 43rd overall in June).