On Monday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks released their roster for the upcoming Development Camp on July 16-20 at the MB Ice Arena in Chicago. The roster is composed of 20 forwards, 15 defensemen, and 6 goalies and is highlighted by the Blackhawks’ 2017 and 2018 First-Round picks Henri Jokiharju and Adam Boqvist.
Chicago Blackhawks Announce Development Camp Roster
The 2018 Chicago Blackhawks prospect development camp gets underway on Monday, July 16 and runs until Friday, July 20 at the MB Ice Arena. Formerly held at Johnny’s IceHouse, this will be the first development camp to be hosted at the MB Ice Arena since it’s completed construction.
The Blackhawks released the full roster of prospects in their system and camp invitees that will be in attendance on Monday. You can view the full rosters here:
Players To Watch
Having been compared to potentially be the “next Erik Karlsson,” the Blackhawks are placing a lot of their future hopes on defenseman Adam Boqvist. When he takes the ice at development camp, Boqvist will be 17-years old, and have the eyes of Blackhawks fandom squarely upon him. The skilled defenseman is slated to play for the London Knights in the OHL this upcoming season.
While few believe that he is ready to make the jump this upcoming season, 2017 First-Round pick Henri Jokiharju could turn a few heads at this year’s development camp and potentially set himself up for a jump to the NHL this year. With the Blackhawks’ defensive group in its current state, maybe giving Jokiharju a shot in the big league wouldn’t be a half-bad idea.
Rounding out a trifecta of highly touted defensive prospects is University of Denver blue-liner Ian Mitchell. A second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Mitchell had a stand-out season as a freshman at Denver and looks to build upon that in his sophomore season. Representing Team Canada in this summer’s World Junior showcase, Mitchell has potential to make a move to the professional ranks, and maybe even the NHL, once his sophomore season ends.
A teammate of Mitchell’s at Denver last season, Blake Hillman made the jump to the professional ranks last season with the Blackhawks in late March. In four games with Chicago, Hillman showed promise, but ultimately will start the season as a seventh defenseman option, or find himself in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs to begin the year.
An interesting case study in development, Chad Krys was selected in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft as a highly sought-after defensive prospect out of the US Development Program. Fast-forward two years and Krys is entering his third year at Boston University without being in serious discussions as the future key piece of the Blackhawks defensive youth core that he was once thought to be. While his numbers at Boston have been solid, his development since being drafted has come into question. It will be interesting to see Krys as one of the ‘veterans’ at this summer’s development camp.
Another interesting case study for the Blackhawks prospect system is that of Alexandre Fortin. After making a big splash two summers ago, Fortin was given a contract with the Blackhawks after development camp and an invite to Chicago’s training camp. Fortin was nearly selected to the NHL starting roster at the beginning of that season, but was ultimately sent back to the QMJHL and last summer to the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL. Dealing with injuries last season, Fortin’s impact for the IceHogs was not as great as was formerly expected. Now healthy, Fortin should be a standout player at this year’s development camp in a less than star-studded forwards group for Chicago.
A 2017 third-round NHL Draft pick, Evan Barratt finished his freshman season at Penn State last season with 18 points in 32 games. After winning a Gold Medal with Team USA at the U18 World Junior Championships in 2017, Barratt has a high-level of potential to be a piece for the Blackhawks down the road, but will need to show drastic improvement in his sophomore season at a high-powered Penn State program.
One of the international players to watch at this summer’s development camp if forward Tim Soderlund. Last summer, Soderlund jumped onto the Blackhawks scene in what was supposed to be the ‘Alex DeBrincat showcase’ and turned heads as the OTHER undersized forward making waves. A fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Soderlund played the entire 2017-18 season with Skellefteå AIK of the SHL as a 19-year old and was part of the Silver-Medal Swedish team at the World Junior Championships. Soderlund is set to play next season in the SHL again, but will be with Forlunda HC.
A physical-style defenseman, Dennis Gilbert didn’t have the junior season at Notre Dame that many were hoping for him to have. But, after falling to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA National Title game, Gilbert made the jump to the professional ranks with the Chicago Blackhawks organization. While he did not make his NHL debut or get any ice-time with the Rockford IceHogs, Gilbert will have what will be most likely his final development camp appearance. At six-foot-two and just over 200-pounds, Gilbert will be one of the biggest defensive prospects for the Blackhawks at camp and will likely get his first look in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs to begin the year.
Chicago’s development camp will consist of four days of more practice and drill style sessions on July 16-19, and will conclude with a full-team scrimmage on Friday, June 20. All sessions are free and open to the public.