August 8, 2013 by Cups n Pucks
After two previous stages of naming off ten of the last 15 top Blackhawks prospects, we have finally reached the final five players to round off our list. These are, in my opinion, the Blackhawks prospects with the most potential. Look to see these guys dominate in the NHL and bring a good name to the Chicago Blackhawks.
*If you think a player didn’t make the Top 5 cut that should make it, please leave a comment in the comment box below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Brandon Saad wasn’t the only major surprise available to the Hawks in 2011 draft. Adam Clendening should not have been around in the 2nd round, but with the 36th pick the Hawks chose this mobile offensive defenseman. Clendening played two seasons with Boston University before signing a pro contract and joining Rockford at the age of 19 (He didn’t play in the CHL so he didn’t have to wait till he was 20 years old to play in the AHL). Clendening had as good of a rookie season as anyone could have hoped. He put up 46 points in 73 games making him the 4th highest in points for a defenseman in the AHL. He also played in the AHL All Star game.
Time table: The time table for defensemen is a little tricky. The Hawks roster still contains the same seven defensemen from the 2013 Stanley Cup winning team. Brookbank still has one year remaining on his contract and Oduya and Rozsival have two years left. I believe the Hawks are hoping that Leddy can take Oduya’s spot in the top four and Clendening can play in Leddy’s spot when Leddy moves up. Mark Bernard, the GM for the Rockford Icehogs, has said that Clendening is NHL ready. I can’t see the Hawks moving anyone this season to make room for Clendening. In 2014-2015, Rozsival could end up as the Hawks 7th defensemen to make room for Clendening. Time will tell.
Mark Bernard says Smith, Pirri, Hayes, Morin and Clendening ready to for jump to NHL #Blackhawks
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) July 27, 2013
Acquired from Atlanta with Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, 2010 1st round pick (Kevin Hayes) and 2010 2nd round pick (Justin Holl) for Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Dustin Byfuglien, and Akim Aliu
Morin was the big piece we received in return for Dustin Byfuglien but due to a major concussion, his development was halted for an entire year. Now Morin looks as though he has improved his foot speed to go along with his already exceptional scoring touch. He put up an impressive 58 points (30 of them being goals) in 67 games for Rockford last season and will be a huge asset on a painfully terrible Hawks power play. Morin has a rocket of a shot but is also willing to get dirty in front of the net and bang in greasy goals.
Time table: Much like Pirri, he will get every opportunity to break into the Hawks line-up this season in a bottom 6 role. He can slide right into that 3rd line right wing spot playing with Shaw and either Bickell or Saad. Morin should be able to pot around 15 goals from that 3rd line in his rookie season, especially if he is playing with players like Shaw and Saad. Expect a good season from this kid.
Also, he got into a fight in his first NHL game:
Pirri has done his time in Rockford and he has played extremely well. Last season he put up 75 points in 76 games to win the AHL scoring title. He is the youngest player to win the title since Jason Spezza in the 2004-2005 lock out season (and Spezza played 111 games in the NHL before doing so). Pirri was held back last season due to his weaker play in the defensive zone, but it seems he has worked on his defensive game and is ready to make the jump to the NHL.
Time table: No time like the present. This is Pirri’s year to prove is can be an NHL top 6 center. He will be given the opportunity to play between Sharp and Kane/Hossa. The Hawks were patient and let Pirri mature his game in both zones before tossing him into the fray. I have been a huge Pirri fan since the day he was drafted (I liked him better than our first round pick in 2009: Dylan Olsen) and I think he will excel in this role. Maybe it is the bias in me, but if Pirri is playing top 6 minutes with Kane and Sharp, he has an opportunity to surprise some people and make a run at the Calder Memorial Trophy.
When we drafted Danault I was unhappy because I thought he should have been taken in the 2nd round with Brandon Saad (was a huge fan of his before he was a Hawk) and Zach Phillips (drafted by Minnesota) still on the board. My opinion was that the Hawks made an error in judgement with this pick. Two years pass and I am singing Danault’s praises. While he will probably be a bottom 6 player, he brings grit and leadership to the table. In my opinion, the Hawks have won 2 cups in 4 years due in a large part of the character in the locker room, and Danault will fit right into the fold. He brings the leadership of Toews and the feistiness of Bolland. He can get under an opponent’s skin while potting 15-20 goals in a season. I’m excited to see how Danault develops.
Time table: With 3 – 4 roster spots open for rookies, Danault has an outside shot of making the Hawks next season, but more seasoning in Rockford would make more sense. Hawks have plenty of NHL ready prospects and there is no sense rushing him. If Danault comes in and impresses at camp he can steal a spot, but I think Bowman will want him in Rockford for at least one season. The 2014-2015 is a good time to expect to see Danault wearing the Indian Head.
Mark my words: Teuvo Teravainen is going to be a stud in the NHL! This kid has been touted as playing very similarly to Patrick Kane. He has amazing vision and makes difficult passes with ease. He can also put the puck in the net pretty well. Still only 18 years old (turning 19 on September 11th), he still has to put on some muscle (like Kane did when he first entered the league). Once Teravainen does that, he will be one hell of a player!
Time table: Teravainen still has one year left with Jokerit where he put up impressive numbers for an 18 year old kid (44GP, 13 goals and 21 points in the 2012-2013 season). He will be back playing in the SM-Liiga next year. If I were Stan Bowman, I wouldn’t rush this youngster as he is one of the youngest players drafted in 2012. Give Teravainen one season in Rockford to get adjusted to North American ice before playing him full time in the 2015 – 2016 season.