Blackhawks

Patrick Kane uncertain when he’ll start at Blackhawks camp

Patrick Kane uncertain when he’ll start at Blackhawks camp

TORONTO – Patrick Kane and his USA teammates will be wrapping up their portion of the World Cup of Hockey with tonight’s game against the Czech Republic. When Kane heads to Blackhawks training camp, however, remains uncertain.

“Yeah I’m not really sure what the plan is yet,” said Kane on Thursday morning. “A lot of guys, at least the American guys, anyway, have talked about taking a few days off and then joining their team. I’ll go back to Chicago, talk to Stan [Bowman] and Joel [Quenneville] and get a feel of what they want me to do and what’s best for me.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Kane said Team USA needed to, “just win a game” on its final day in Toronto. While USA hockey is reeling from another disappointing international showing, the future should bode well. Watching some of the Americans on Team North America shows that.

“I think USA Hockey has a bright future ahead of it, not only USA Hockey but hockey in general,” Kane said. “You look at some of those younger guys, I know a few of them are American but there are some very good Canadian players as well. But yeah, you could argue that some of those guys on that team would have made our team, been in consideration for making the American team. USA Hockey’s in a good place, the future’s bright. Once we get by this, there’ll be a lot of excitement and expectations to do better in the Olympics.”

Kane was very emotional on Tuesday night, when Team Canada eliminated Team USA from the tournament. Jonathan Toews, speaking after Team Canada’s 4-1 victory over Team Europe on Thursday, said he hasn’t talked to Kane yet about Team USA’s disappointing ending.

“There’s no doubt when we get back to Chicago, no matter what happens the rest of the tournament, we’ll talk about it. But previous experience is not something you rub in anyone’s face,” Toews said. “Everyone wants to win and anything can happen. I think there’s a lot of talk about the US team falling short of their expectations but at the same time, we said the same thing. I guess we’re putting along the way we expected to, but anyone can win this tournament. We’re seeing that across the board, especially in the other pool. North America’s surprising teams. It’s not easy.”

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

2019 NHL Draft Profile: D Bowen Byram

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Bowen Byram

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"He's had an outstanding year. Second half of the year he's really been outstanding. He really kind of drew a lot of attention to himself. Well-deserved. He's a dynamic player and he affects the outcome of a game."

Byram describes his own game:

On Duncan Keith comparisons: "I would say that’s pretty accurate. He’s a really energetic guy, good on both sides of the puck, kills penalties, runs the power play. That’s kind of how I’d describe myself, for sure. That’s definitely a fair comparison."

NHL player comparable: Duncan Keith

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks have used their last three first-round picks on defensemen, but positional needs aren't a priority when you're drafting this high — although, in the grand scheme of things, it's a pressing need despite the overflow of defensemen in the pipeline. TSN's Craig Button has said multiple times on the Hawks Talk Podcast that Byram is a future No. 1 defenseman in the NHL, and he would immediately become the top prospect in the organization.

Byram, known for his swagger and two-way game, has drawn comparisons to Drew Doughty and Keith, both of whom have won a Norris Trophy — Keith has two. More importantly, Doughty and Keith also have their names on the Stanley Cup multiple times and were both driving forces during those title runs. These are the types of defensemen you win championships with.

Byram set records in the Western Hockey League as a 17-year-old, and he could probably step into the pros immediately. But that's asking a lot for a defenseman, so he'd be more likely to become an everyday NHL player starting in 2020-21.

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2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Trevor Zegras

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 169 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"Trevor is a high skilled centerman, very good skater, very, very creative, comfortable and creative with the puck."

Zegras describes his own game:

On his creativity: "I think growing up, watching a bunch of guys in the NHL like Patrick Kane mess around the ice, just something I’ve always done as a little kid. Maybe I rolled into the driveway and work on fun passes. It’s what I’m really good at."

NHL player comparable: Patrick Kane

Fit for Blackhawks:

Talk to any player on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and they'll say Zegras was the most offensively gifted player of the group, which is saying a lot when you consider some of the names he's up against (Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, to name a few).

At the NHL scouting combine, Zegras mentioned Kane several times as somebody he tries modeling his game after. The vision, the passing, the skating, the playmaking ability, the hockey IQ. He has it all offensively, and also doesn't get enough credit for his two-way game.

Zegras is somebody that has quickly been rising on draft boards, and it's because he has the potential to be a 90-point player in the NHL as a center. His name has been discussed by the Blackhawks at No. 3 and he's certainly a tempting option. Pair Zegras with Kane for the next decade and it's scary to think about the numbers the two could put up together.

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