While the Chicago Blackhawks continue to remain as one the top teams in the NHL and are in the midst of fighting for a third Stanley Cup in five years, no a lot of attention is spent on prospects in the Hawks system. If there is a hockey version of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Blackhawks are just it. Just like the Cardinals, the Blackhawks have found a successful blueprint of competing for championship and still producing good, young talent.
While the Blackhawks have tested out many youngster so far this season, Brandon Pirri and Ben Smith have been the only players that have been dressing consistently. So in case you haven’t been keeping up on the Hawks prospects since they were assigned to minor league teams after training camp, here is an update on those players after a month of hockey.
- D Adam Clendening(Rockford); Through 14 games Clendening has been Rockford’s best player as he leads the team in assists(10) and points(13). His name isn’t as popular as some in the system but at just 21 years old, Clendening has a bright future ahead of him. The Hawks are deep at the defensive position but if he continues to play this well, Clendening can fight for a spot on the roster next season.
- G Antii Raanta(Rockford); In his first season in the States, Raanta has been decent for the Ice Hogs. Through 10 games played, Raanta has posted a 5-4 record with a 3.02 goals against average and .911 save percentage. The Hawks have not gotten good played out of back up goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin but a call up of Raanta is not going to happen anytime soon. He still has a lot of work to do on his game before the Hawks consider him to be a back up for Corey Crawford.
- RW Jimmy Hayes(Rockford); Hayes started the season in Chicago after having a strong preseason. Unfortunately the Hawks weren’t getting much production from him in the few games he played so they returned him to Rockford. Through 11 games in Rockford, Hayes has four goals and four assists but he is a -5. Hayes still has a shot to contribute for the Hawks this year especially because of his size, but his skating has been a problem so far in his career.
- C Drew LeBlanc(Rockford); LeBlanc got action with the Hawks late last season and had a solid first game against the Edmonton Oilers but has struggled so far in his first full pro season. He on the Hobey Baker Award in 2013 for the top NCAA Men’s Hockey player and the Hawks are hoping he can find his game from last year. LeBlanc has three goals and four assists through 14 games but sits at a -7.
- C Teuvo Teravainen(Europe); The Hawks top draft pick in 2012 and probably the most talented player int he Hawks system. He got off to a little bit of a slow start over in Finland after spending spending training camp with the Hawks but has played much better lately. Teravainen has 11 points through 15 games. At 19, Teuvo already is already smart enough to play in the NHL but his strength is probably the main reason the Hawks aren’t rushing him. There is still a chance the he comes back to the States in the last month of the season but best bet is you’ll have to wait until next year to see Teuvo in Chicago.
- RW Ryan Hartman(Plymouth); The West Dundee native was the Hawks first selection in the 2013 and has spent the first month of the 2013-2014 season in the OHL. Hartman has been outstanding posting an impressive 21 points through 18 games. The OHL is a lesser league than the AHL but the Hawks have to be happy with the offensive numbers Hartman has put up. He will probably spend next season in Rockford before fighting for a spot on the Hawks.
As the case with all the Hawks prospects, there is no need to rush them with the Hawks being one of the best teams in the NHL.