Ross looking to show Blackhawks what he's got


Ross looking to show Blackhawks what he's got

Garret Ross name had barely been announced as a Chicago Blackhawks draftee when he got a call from his fellow Saginaw Spirit teammate Brandon Saad.

He actually called me no more than five minutes after, said Ross, who the Blackhawks took in the fifth round at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was yelling into the phone. We were pretty excited.

Flash forward to this week, as Ross is teammates with Saad again as he participates in his first Blackhawks prospect camp at Johnnys IceHouse West. For Ross, its a chance to show the Blackhawks what hes got: a well-rounded game with some offense (54 points last season with Saginaw) and some sandpaper.

The 20-year-old Ross said being on a line with Saad for part of last season was a great experience.

The first couple of years it was mainly go out there and hit and try to fight. But this season me and Saad were together half a year. He brings the best out of you and hes great to play with, Ross said. I feel that Im a two-way guy. Ill play some offense and defense, bring some energy, make some hits and stick up for my teammates.

Saad said Ross wont back down from anyone.

He has that grittiness to him, Saad said. You should look forward to watching him this week.

And look forward to seeing Ross at training camp this fall, when hell be reunited with a former fighting foe: Andrew Shaw. Ross and Shaw had their share of bouts you can find at least two of them on the web when Shaw was with the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL.

Yeah, we went a couple of times, Ross said with a grin. I definitely dont mind dropping the gloves.

So there could be some sparring between the two come training camp?

Im sure you guys will see something, Ross said.

Ross plays with an edge and can also bring some offense. Hes reunited with his Saginaw teammate Saad, and Saads experience with the Blackhawks last season motivates Ross. Still, he knows he has to be himself to impress the Blackhawks brass.

Learning is the main thing. I just come out here and play my game, he said. Thats the reason why Im here, so Ill just stick to my game.

Blackhawks select Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick

Blackhawks select Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick

DALLAS — For the first time since drafting Patrick Kane first overall in 2007, the Blackhawks owned a top-10 pick in the NHL Draft. There was speculation that Stan Bowman might get aggressive and trade the No. 8 selection for immediate help if a deal made sense.

Instead, the draft couldn't have unfolded more favorably for the Blackhawks, who elected to keep the pick and drafted defenseman Adam Boqvist.

Boqvist is a 5-foot-11, 168-pound right-handed shot blue-liner who's drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson, given his offensive ability.

“You can never have enough D, he moves the puck, he’s very active in the play, very dynamic in a lot of ways," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on the NBCSN broadcast. "He can help our power play down the road, I am looking forward to seeing how he does in the summer and going into camp.

"There’s opportunity here on the back end with our team, and it’s going to be competitive along the way, but certainly you got a guy that can move the puck and get involved offensively, those guys are hard to find.”

He compiled 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games for the Brynas J20 squad in the SuperElit league, and added three goals and two assists in three playoff games. But his production dropped off when he moved up to the Swedish Hockey League, where he registered only one assist in 15 games.

As we mentioned in our NHL Draft Profile this week, there are a few concerns about Boqvist.

He's only 17 years old and isn't the best defender, meaning the Blackhawks must be patient with his development. He's also sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds some risk to the equation.

Boqvist joins Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell as the team's top three defensive prospects, all of whom have right-handed shots.

Stan Bowman: Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford 'progressing like he normally would'

Stan Bowman: Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford 'progressing like he normally would'

Stan Bowman likes where Corey Crawford is at this state of the offseason, he said Friday prior to the NHL Draft.

Speaking with NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle, Bowman noted that while Crawford hasn't begun doing any on-ice work, that isn't unusual for players this early.

"We’ve been in contact with Corey and I think he’s been progressing like he normally would," Bowman said. "Most guys don’t do a lot of on-ice work the first couple of months of the offseason.

"Typically they get back on the ice sometime in July, some guys don’t skate until August. I think that’s sort of the plan for Corey as we go along here. I would say he’s right on the normal schedule for the offseason and we’ll just see how that goes."

That's good news for the Blackhawks, who sorely missed Crawford a year ago. The three-time Stanley Cup champion appeared in just 28 games, earning a 16-9-2 record and a 2.27 GAA.