Blackhawks

Prospects giving Blackhawks plenty to think about

Prospects giving Blackhawks plenty to think about

There are certain phrases that have become part of the Blackhawks’ vernacular. Coach Joel Quenneville has uttered one several times in the short time he’s been back in Chicago.

“We like tough decisions,” Quenneville said on Tuesday night.

If that’s the case, the Blackhawks have got to be loving their current situation.

Be it Alexandre Fortin, Gustav Forsling or Vinnie Hinostroza, among others, the Blackhawks are seeing some impressive performances from their prospects. That’s good, considering the vacancies, especially on the forward lines, the Blackhawks need to fill. The good impressions continued on Tuesday night, when those three, as well as Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman had great outings in the team’s 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

“We could talk about all of our young guys tonight,” Quenneville said following the game, “and it was positive in every facet.”

Hinostroza, who was moved back to the wing — he said he felt better there than at center — got his first goal of the preseason. His speed has been noticeable throughout. Schmaltz, back at center after playing some wing, tipped in his first goal. Hartman provided the net-front presence. Fortin lined up with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov and didn’t get rattled. Forsling was strong again and making some slick passes.

Yes, the situation isn’t so bad, really.

 

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“I would say it’s definitely deeper,” Quenneville said of this group of young players. “Definitely the type of ingredients that we’re looking for for our team, the addition of speed and depth and skill. To me, that’s the way the game is progressing, so I think it can be healthy and not just [for] these guys coming into our lineup. They’re going to be in some really important spots for us. So that could be a good sign.”

As previously written, some of the Blackhawks’ roster decisions also come down to contracts and playing time as much as preseason performances. There’s no doubt Fortin and Forsling have done some tremendous work this fall. They’ve turned heads, and they’ve turned the right heads. Do the Blackhawks see enough in Fortin to keep him here and burn the first season of his entry-level contract? Is there a place for Forsling among a defensive group that’s a lot deeper this season than it was the last? And if Forsling stays, you would think the Blackhawks would want to give him enough playing time to justify his staying here. As Quenneville always says about prospects, the team wants to keep them playing.

It sounds like some of these young hopefuls will get one more look on Saturday in the Blackhawks’ preseason finale against St. Louis. Decisions, decisions. The Blackhawks love when they have to make the tough ones. They’ve got to be enjoying their situation immensely right now.

“Nothing got sorted out [Tuesday]. [They] made it real difficult on us. It’s real positive organizationally,” Quenneville said. “These young guys, we need some of them. How many we need will be determined going forward, because they all enhanced their chances.”

NHL.com names Blackhawks "Franchise of the Decade"

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USA Today

NHL.com names Blackhawks "Franchise of the Decade"

We all knew the 2010s were good to the Hawks and their fans, this salute is just the cherry on the sundae. There's no arguing that with three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015) in six seasons, they're incredibly deserving of the title.

Chicago ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought in 2010 and captured first place in the Central Division in 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Hawks also won the President's Trophy awarded to the team with the most points in the NHL in 2013 after starting the season 21-0-3. 

Who can forgot moments like beating the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Final after trailing the series 3-1, Kane's Game 6 overtime goal in 2010 to snag the cup, 17 seconds and winning it on home ice in 2015.

"It's been special," Jonathan Toews told NHL.com. "At the end of the day it's not easy, it's a lot of hard work. A lot of teammates and friends have come through this locker room and left to play for other teams or retire -- there's always a different scenario -- but I'm pretty thankful for what I've been able to be a part of. For me, Chicago has become a home. You're around the city, people are thanking you for the championships and that will never get old. Great memories and obviously a pretty special time when were able to make those Cup runs."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Should Kane & Toews continue to be on the same line?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Should Kane & Toews continue to be on the same line?

Host Pat Boyle is joined by Blackhawks Insider Charlie Roumeliotis, and NBCS Chicago producer Slavko Bekovic as they debate the nuclear line of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, have the Hawks found their identity as a team, predictions for the next few games as the Hawks head to the bye week.

(1:00) - Hawks forced to use Kane and Toews on the same line

(6:15) - Dominik Kubalik is doing well with Kane and Toews

(9:55) - Colliton doesn't have a healthy roster right now

(14:12) - What is the identity of this team?

(17:18) - Maybe the Hawks have a chance at a Wildcard spot

(20:24) - Kirby Dach is getting opportunities on the power play

(23:48) - How will the Hawks play vs the Panthers and Joel Quenneville?

(26:30) - Predictions on the next few gamesListen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

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