August 1, 2013 by Cups n Pucks
Since prospect camp and the convention are over, the long summer begins to drag on for hockey fans. There won’t be much going on for the next few weeks, so this gives me the opportunity to talk about my top 15 prospects in the Blackhawks pipeline.
Over the next few days I will post the top 15 prospects in three separate posts. For the sake of suspense, we’ll start from #15 and head down to #1.
First, before I forget, we have a couple honorable mentions. The Hawks have so many prospects at all levels that there is some decent talent that couldn’t make it into the top 15.
Kyle Beach – 11th overall in 2008
He has been passed up due to injury and attitude issues, which appear to be in the past. Beach is looking to crack into the Hawks lineup this season. This could be a make or break year for him.
Maxim Shalunov – 109th overall in 2011
Shalunov has put up impressive numbers in the MHL, but now has to make the next jump to the KHL to continue his development. Still unsure if he will leave Russia.
Alex Broadhurst – 199th overall in 2011
Broadhurst had impressive numbers playing with 2013 first round pick Max Domi (PHX) last season. Now Broadhurst will be playing with his older brother Terry in Rockford. He is also comes from my home town of Orland Park, so there is some bias there I’m sure.
15. Chris Calnan – 79th overall in 2012
Since Stan Bowman became GM , the Hawks love drafting NCAA project prospects and Chris Calnan is another. Nephew of Hawks legend Jeremy Roenick, he has the pedigree of an NHL player and his raw skills are outstanding. Just watching the last two prospect camps, you can see Calnan has great hockey IQ and sees the ice very well. His shot is strong and he skates pretty well. His skills are raw and he needs to develop to put those skills into professional game situations. Calnan will be playing his freshman season at Boston College this season (Hawks love Boston College).
Time table: Long time! Very long time! Calnan is a player you can expect to serve at least three seasons at Boston College, followed by time in the AHL for conditioning and fine tuning his skills. Just keep a tab on this kid and wait because he is going to be a while.
Jeremy Roenick’s tweet on Chris Calnan:
— Jeremy Roenick (@Jeremy_Roenick) July 26, 2013
Brother of Jimmmy Hayes (JHayes), Kevin Hayes (KHayes) will be entering his 4th season at Boston College. His previous season was injury riddled and he only played 27 games. On the bright side, in those 27 games he tallied 25 points. KHayes has good play making ability and soft hands to go along with a big size that is similar to his older brother. If KHayes comes back this season and plays as he did before injuries, he will definitely be receiving a contract from the Blackhawks next year.
Time table: Like his brother, KHayes will need more seasoning once he leaves Boston College. He will need to spend a few years in Rockford conditioning himself to the professional game. He might need just as much time as Hawks took with Ben Smith. He was a project prospect when we picked him but KHayes has a good chance of panning out when it is all said and done.
After four years with Boston College (where he won the NCAA tournament’s MVP with Boston College’s 2010 Frozen Four Championship), three years in Rockford, and a couple stints with the Blackhawks, Ben Smith is looking to stick in the NHL. Smith doesn’t excel at any facet of the game but he doesn’t struggle with any either. He skates well, has a decent shot, can play physical, and kills penalties. He is the type of player you can move up and down your line-up and play in any situation.
Time table: There is a good chance that Smith’s patience will pay off with a roster spot in the 2013-2014 season. With 3rd and 4th line spots open, Smith will battle Morin, JHayes, Beach and Danault for the couple spots that are open. My prediction is that Smith takes that 4th line spot.
John Hayden left a great impression on me after the prospect camp. He had a rocket of a shot and skated extremely well. In addition, the guy is a bull. Hayden is power forward who digs hard in the corners and along the boards. I was rather surprised that he slipped to the middle of the 3rd round because he looked better than the majority of the players at camp. Hayden will be playing his freshman season at Yale in 2013-2014.
Time table: With such a young prospect going to college, it is hard to determine when you might see the Hawks make a move to sign him. Hayden could play one or two seasons WHERE like Olsen and Clendening or he can play all 4 WHERE like Johns and Smith. Either way, Hayden is a player to keep an eye on as he develops throughout his college career. Hayden is a project prospect (will take a long time before he is ready for NHL action) but it could pay off in the end.
Jimmy Hayes (JHayes) is a big guy who plays very well in front of the net. At 6’5″, he could easily play a style like Byfuglien or Bickell. His season in Rockford was respectable with 45 points in 67 games and he has a pretty solid shot and moves well for a guy his size. JHayes is a player you could expect to see on a 3rd or 4th line and also pick up some time on the power play.
Time table: JHayes could be looking for a spot on the Hawks roster as early as this year. There is a spot open on the 4th line that he is a top contender to take. He will have to out play Ben Smith and Kyle Beach at training camp to earn the spot. Also, the Carcillo trade opened up a spot for an extra forward. JHayes could be the 13rd forward on the Hawks roster and can be played as needed. There is a good chance JHayes will stick with the Hawks this season.