Opportunity is knocking for Blackhawks prospects
Andrew Shaw was traded. So was Teuvo Teravainen.
Andrew Ladd was lost to free agency. So was Dale Weise.
Tomas Fleischmann is still unsigned.
Add it up and that’s five of the 14 forwards who suited up for Chicago in the playoffs. They’ll need to be replaced somehow, and prospects Ryan Hartman, Vincent Hinostroza, Tyler Motte, Tanner Kero, and Nick Schmaltz are all candidates to do it.
A first-round draft pick in 2013, Hartman had 35 points in 61 games last season for AHL Rockford. He also played three games for the ‘Hawks, and knows consistency will be the key to graduating full-time to the NHL.
“You can’t be a guy who comes in, has two or three games, and then takes a night off,” Hartman told CSN Chicago. “You have to bring it every night. That’s what it takes. There isn’t a guy who takes a night off who won’t be called down right away.”
Heading into 2015-16, the big question mark in Chicago was the blue line. Could a youngster like Trevor van Riemsdyk step up and fill the hole that Johnny Oduya left behind?
Ultimately, the answer was no, and the ‘Hawks went out in the first round. Brian Campbell was then signed in free agency, and management also has high expectations for Michal Kempny.
The defense addressed, now it’s the forward group that’s going under the microscope.
“Obviously with cap issues, stuff’s going to happen in the offseason,” said Hartman. “Nobody really knows what’s going to happen but it’s an opportunity now for me, especially, and some other guys to make a push, try to make the team this year.”