Camping with the Kids: Day 1 Recap of Prospect Camp

The Blackhawks’ annual Prospect Camp opened up this afternoon with two practice sessions at Johnny’s Ice House West. Although the kids mainly just went through typical drills that a normal hockey practice features, it was a great opportunity to impress the coaches, staff and fans with their skills.

The young guns were split up into two groups at Johnny’s:  the Free Agent Invitees and the baby Blackhawks. The Free Agents took to the ice first at noon and were on the ice for about an hour. Here’s a look at how the groups broke down:

Red Jerseys:  Dario Simion (Lugano HC; forward), Jake Chelios (Yes, Chris’ son; Michigan State; defenseman), Nolan Zajac (Yes, Travis’ brother; Denver; D), Garrett Thompson (Ferris State; LW), Zach Loesch (Lake Superior State; D), Chris McCarthy (Vermont; F), Grayson Downing (New Hampshire; F), Gleb Koryagin (HC MVD Jr.; D), Milos Bubela (RPI; F) and Sam Babintsev (Missssauga; RW).

White Jerseys:  Cohen Adair (Northern Michigan; F), Dan Weissenhofer (Naperville native; Air Force; D), Tim O’Brien (Winnetka native; Dartmouth; F), Matt Lorito (Brown; F), Jason Bast (St. Francis Xavier; C), Guy LeBoeuf (RPI; D), Quinn Gould (Merrimack; F) and Luke Curadi (RPI; D).

**The goalies were Matthew O’Connor (Boston University) and Jackson Whistle (Kelowna). All netminders wore red on Day 1.

The guys that stood out the most, to me at least, from the Free Agent invitees were Jake Chelios, Nolan Zajac and Dan Weissenhofer. Throughout all of the skating, puck-handling, passing and battle drills, Chelios showed off his smooth skating and good gaps while defending 1-on-1. He looked very confident with the puck and was very steady. Zajac really stood out because of his speed. The 5-foot-10, 182 pound defenseman was zipping around out there very well. Weissenhofer added some muscle to the battle drills. He was not afraid to throw his body around, whether it was clearing guys out from the front of the net or getting on the body along the boards. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound blueliner also made the effort to block shots, where many of the other campers didn’t attempt to do that. Luke Curadi also stood out, but not necessarily for the right reasons. He’s a big defenseman—6-foot-5, 247—but his skating was not all that swift.

An hour or so after the Free Agents left the ice, the Blackhawks draftees/prospects made their way onto the ice. The breakdown of who-was-wearing-what looked like this:

Red Jerseys:  Alex Broadhurst (London; C), Tyler Motte (US NTDP; C), John Hayden (US NTDP; C), Dillon Fournier (Rouyn-Noranda; D), Travis Brown (Moose Jaw; D), Anthony Louis (US NTDP; C), Pat Mullane (Boston College; C), Michael Paliotta (Vermont; D), Justin Holl (University of Minnesota; D), Nick Mattson (North Dakota; D), Sam Jardine (Ohio State; D) and Chris Calnan (South Shore; RW).

White Jerseys:  Phillip Danault (Moncton; C), Stephen Johns (Notre Dame; D), Mark McNeill (Prince Albert; C) Robin Norell (Djurgarden Jr.; D), Garret Ross (Saginaw; LW), Robin Press (Sodertalje Jr. 20; D), Viktor Svedberg (Vastra Frolunda HC; D) and Carl Dahlstrom (Linkoping Jr. 18; D).

**The goalies were Mac Carruth (Portland), Kent Simpson (Toledo), Brandon Whitney (Victoriaville) and Matt Tomkins (Sherwood Park).

There were 7 notable absences from this group:  Kevin Hayes (Boston College; C) isn’t even in town. He’s still in Massachusetts. The logical guess as to why he’s not in town is because he’s still recovering from that nasty leg injury he suffered earlier this year.

7-8-13 001-Kevin

UPDATE:  Kevin’s on his way…

7-8-13 004-Kevin

Ryan Hartman (Plymouth; RW) is still recovering from shoulder surgery.

7-8-13 002-Ryan

Antti Raanta ( Assat Pori; G) is nursing a minor injury, according to the Blackhawks.

7-8-13 003-Raanta

Luke Johnson (Lincoln; C) was on the original camp roster, but wasn’t on the updated one and wasn’t at camp. In addition, Vincent Hinostroza (Waterloo; C), Kirill Gotovets (Cornell; D) and Maxim Shalunov (Chelmet Chelyabinski; RW) were not in attendance, at least during the first day.

A new face to the Blackhawks organization is John Hayden (the Hawks’ 3rd round [74th overall] draft choice in 2013) and he impressed on the first day. Every time I looked up, he seemed to be putting the puck in the back of the net with a nice shot. The Greenwich, CT native seems to have a nice set of hands on him. Michael Paliotta and Stephen Johns showed off their physical sides a bit during battle drills. Overall though, both defensemen looked very solid on the ice in all aspects of their game. Johns seemingly excelled in all the drills. Anthony Louis showed off his speed and puck-handling today. Two prospects that seemed to be aboard the Struggle Bus today were Robin Norell and Robin Press. They seemed to not have their skating legs underneath them as they stumbled a lot and fumbled the puck a lot. Hopefully, for their sake, it was just first day jitters that had them so unsteady.

A few guys that Rockford IceHogs fans saw play at the end of the year looked good, as well:  Phillip Danault, Garret Ross and Mark McNeill. Ross was always looking to clean up second chance opportunities, Danault was being a work-horse (as always) and McNeill was going about his business, getting work done.

It will be easier to see just how good the goalies are during scrimmages, but during drills, Kent Simpson seemed like he was one of the best—as he should be. He played with the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) all of last season and played 2 solid games with the IceHogs during the year as well.

The little Hawks will be back on the ice tomorrow for 2 practice sessions once again, this time the first group is set to take the ice at 10:00 a.m. If you want more updates from camp, follow me on Twitter:  @kimwrona7.

  • AMR

    I am very afraid that Stephen Johns is going to pull a Justin Schultz on the Hawks

    • Gozer the Traveler

      OK, but…who would you rather play for if not a perennial contender playing fast paced entertaining hockey in one of the largest/best hockey markets in the league? I dunno I just feel CHI is a destination team.

      • zacked

        Not if it means I spend 3 years in Rockford, if I could start somewhere else.

        • Z-man19

          3 years? He’ll have to pass some people, but the hawks will need more Dmen after next year

      • Kissmyanthia

        Well Shultz went from Anaheim, a team that needs an offensive D man and playoff bubble team consistently to Edmonton who is just awful. His move didnt make any sense but he did it anyway. Maybe he goes maybe he doesnt, but I really hope he stays.

        • putmeinthemadhouse

          edmonton is not going to be awful forever and schultz knows that.

          • Joe Banks

            Let’s see… if I had a choice between Anaheim and Edmonton…Anaheim and Edmonton…Anaheim and Edmonton… hmmmm… what is wrong with that boy?

    • kimwrona

      I hope not :S

    • Z-man19

      Based on?

      • AMR

        Some people think they he may want to play in Pittsburgh considering he is from there

        • putmeinthemadhouse

          pittsburgh cant even afford to sign him

          • AMR

            They can afford to sign him and put him in the AHL, but he is committed to Notre Dame next season so we are talking about the end of next season or the 2014-2015 season

          • Joe Banks

            The nerve of these kids, finishing their 4 yr commitments. The NBA is laughing.
            Don’t worry, AMR – if he had no intention of coming here, why on earth would he show up at prospects camp?

          • AMR

            Thats what I am hoping. I guess we will know when he either signs a contract with the Hawks or de-registers with Notre Dame and tries to go the UFA route like Schultz

          • Joe Banks

            I would hate for the Hawks to lose him… but I think he wants to see the Irish into the frozen 4… which makes me think he has character.

          • AMR

            Yeah I like that he wants to finish college. I think that is incredibly smart but as a hawks fan I want the good prospects to be signed already and in the pros

  • Joe Banks

    Thanks Kim, it’s great to get some feedback on prospects camp. It’s a bonus it is so well written and very detailed.
    Hopefully, that golf outing will improve the healing process on Kevin’s bum leg, eh?

    • kimwrona

      No problem. And thank you very much! 🙂 Hahah, right? Must have done miracles since he’s now on his way! 😉

      • Joe Banks

        The magic of social media… right Tyler Seguin? (Moo)

        • kimwrona

          LOL. Exactly~

  • cliffkoroll

    Good stuff!

  • robondacob

    great read! the information on hayden and johns are very encouraging.

    How does Hayden’s speed and physicality look? Does he play up to his size? I’m also interested in McNeil because he apparently had a bad prospects camp last year. Did McNeil seem slow at all? What about him impressed you?

  • Thanks for this, Kim!

  • Banner an

    Does Kevin Hayes have another year at BC.?