Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blackhawks Convention Brings Stars, Fans, and Questions

The 2015 Chicago Blackhawks Convention set off at 5pm yeterday at the Hilton Chicago before a roaring crowd.  Blackhawk players, prospects, and legends lined up to fans' delight as they were announced by Ed Olcyzk.  Jonathan Toews brought up the rear hoisting the Holy Grail of all of sports, The Stanley Cup.

The buzz wasn't just around the fans, as players, coaches, and staff were asked questions of all sorts from the media.

Per Mark Lazerus, Blackhawks beat writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, Stan Bowman had a lot to say today about a many things:

"... Nick Schmaltz was particularly impressive at prospects camp."  Nick Shmaltz, was the 1st round draft pick (20th overall) of the Blackhawks in the 2014 NHL Draft.

"... Erik Gustafsson caught his eye among the defensemen.  He's determined to make the team out of camp."  Erik Gustafsson was originally a 4th-round pick (93rd overall) of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Draft.  He signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks at the end of April of this year.  If he makes the Opening Night roster, his cap hit would be $667K.

Bowman also stated that the Blackhawks, "have $750k in bonus overages from last season.  That'll count against the cap this upcoming season."  As if the Hawks didn't have enough to worry about.  Bonus overages occur, in this case, because young players, Teuvo Teravainen, made the NHL club earlier than expected.  As for Kruger talks, they were still ongoing, but still without a resolution since things still need to be done (a trade of hopefully Bryan Bickell and/or Kris Versteeg) in order for the team to be under the cap.

Joel Quenneville stated today that he has Teravainen slated as a center for the 2015-16 season.  He also was surprised of the Brandon Saad trade although he mentioned of having more NHL-ready players for this upcoming season.  Back in 2010 when that Stanley Cup team was dismantled, there were mostly prospects and draft picks brought back in return.  This time, Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Trevor Daley, and Ryan Garbutt will all be part of the Opening Night roster and will be key contributors throughout the season.

One other thing of interest was that Bryan Bickell had a tooth removed earlier in the week.  At this point, his vertigo issues have gone away.  This would be a good sign.  Whether it means he starts playing to his capabilities that we've waited to see when he came alive in 2013, or that this clears up any mystery for other teams to not be afraid to trade for him.  Hopefully it is the latter and he along with Versteeg can leave to make way for others battling for spots that have been waiting for a long time in Rockford, like Mark McNeil, and Philip Danault.


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