Blackhawks

Toews' recovery continues to progress

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Toews' recovery continues to progress

Every day Jonathan Toews pushes himself a little more on the ice. And every day, Toews feels hes getting that much closer to returning.

Toews skatedpracticed for the seventh consecutive day on Monday, as the Blackhawks captain continues to feel his concussion symptoms diminish. Still, Toews said he has a bit to go.

As you can tell Im still a ways off from game shape, he said. Obviously theres always going to be some adjustments in that first game I play, whenever that may be. Ill try to get as close as I can to where theres not much adjustment.

But the continued progress in skates and practices is encouraging.

Every day Im pushing myself a little bit harder. The harder I do go the better I feel. It gives me confidence knowing theres not much I can do to make it worse right now. Every day seems to be a step forward, which is a good thing.

Thats also a good thing for the Blackhawks, who are starting to see health come back to their lineup Steve Montador could return Tuesday and Marcus Kruger will play against the New Jersey Devils.

In watching and talking to (Toews), theres progress there, coach Joel Quenneville said. He feels better about where hes going, he adds more each day, he feels stronger and his attitudes been good. Well have a better idea (how close he is) when hes inserted into some contact.

Its been tough for Toews to be patient through this, to wait to get back into the lineup. But he feels hes close to taking full contact, and then playing wont be far behind.

You want to get back in there and help them out as much as you can and when you start to feel like youre getting over the hump, its tough to keep that emotion under control, Toews said. (But) Im feeling pretty close to (contact). The last few days Ive been feeling good.

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.