Chicago Blackhawks development camp: Day one takeaways


The opening afternoon of the Chicago Blackhawks development camp provided a first-look at the entire 2019 NHL Draft class and the continued focus on the defensive depth of the organization. With the roster looking nearly full at the NHL level, day one provided the first auditions of the summer for prospects trying to push for NHL ice time in 2019–20.

Blackhawks development camp: Day one takeaways

The Blackhawks enter the development camp week having made a number of roster moves, both popular and unpopular among the fanbase, to shake up the group that finished six points out of the Western Conference postseason picture. With the changes made on paper, the NHL roster seems to be filling out quickly. But, General Manager Stan Bowman has made it seem that more moves may still be ahead as the summer continues. With the possibility of roster spots opening up to potential prospects, development camp has its share of intrigue around notable players like Adam Boqvist, Kirby Dach and Ian Mitchell.

The roster for camp is split into two teams, usually staying the same throughout the week. Heading into day one, here is how the Blackhawks divided up the roster into two teams:

Team A

  • Kirby Dach
  • Mackenzie Entwistle
  • Brandon Hagel
  • Mikael Hakkarainen
  • Reese Johnson
  • Philipp Kurashev
  • Alexander Nylander
  • Tim Soderlund
    • Did not skate on day one
  • Jake Wise
  • Nicolas Beaudin
  • Adam Boqvist
  • Jakub Galvas
  • Chad Krys
  • Ian Mitchell
  • Alex Vlasic
  • Dominic Basse
  • Alexis Gravel
  • Zackarias Skog
  • Dominik Kubalik
    • Off-ice only

Team B

  • Mathias From
  • Dylan McLaughlin
  • Kyle Olson
  • Logan Ommen
  • Antti Saarela
  • Josiah Slavin
  • Jonny Sorenson
  • Michal Teply
  • Josh Ess
  • Roope Laavainen
  • Cole Moberg
  • Jake Ryczek
  • Ryan Shea
  • Devin Cooley
  • Stefanos Lekkas
  • Mareks Mitens
  • Evan Barratt
    • Off-ice only
  • Parker Foo
    • Off-ice only
  • Niklas Nordgren
    • Off-ice only

It will be interesting to see if any changes will be made during the week or before Friday morning’s full-team scrimmage, as Team A is a bit more unbalanced as far as top-end talent goes than Team B is.

Team B began day one on the ice. With Barratt, Foo and Nordgren working out off the ice, the team’s on-ice workout was highlighted by college hockey prospects like Wisconsin’s Josh Ess, Northwestern’s Ryan Shea and Colorado College commit Josiah Slavin. The Blackhawks added to the mix Bolingbrook, Illinois, native Logan Ommen of the Janesville Jets in the NAHL.

For Barratt, working off the ice has not slowed down his confidence. Talking about his offseason, Barratt had right hip surgery about three months ago, but has already resumed skating workouts and says he will be ready for the upcoming NCAA season with Penn State. Barratt finished with 43 points last season, ranking in the top 15 of the NCAA. His 1.34 points per game pace was fourth-best in the NCAA last year.

Slavin and Ommen stood out in one-on-one drills, as did QMJHL defenseman Jake Ryczek. Saarela stood out from the group from a speed standpoint. From a physical tools standpoint, Ess and Slavin looked the parts of players who have developed their games from last year to this summer.

Ess, heading into his third year at Wisconsin, looks to be a key defensive player for a Badgers team that will bring in U.S. National Team Development Program standouts Cole Caufield, Owen Lindmark and Alex Turcotte. For Slavin, he will play for Colorado College next year after playing three years in the USHL.

Team A took the ice in the afternoon with the highlighted players of the week getting their first taste of the work ahead. Adam Boqvist, Kirby Dach, Ian Mitchell, Alexander Nylander and the like got their first work in and the levels of player development at the Junior and NCAA levels were highly evident.

The Team A session had a faster pace to their opening drills. Jake Wise, wearing a black practice sweater with no number, looked fast and healthy after missing most of last season at Boston University. 2019 draft picks Michal Teply, Alex Vlasic and Dach all had positive showings on day one. Vlasic and Dach’s size compared to last year’s top picks of Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin served as the physical representation of Stan Bowman’s shift in draft strategy from year to year, as the 2019 top picks stood tall over the 2018 crew.

Mackenzie Entwistle, Brandon Hagel, Reese Johnson, Chad Krys and Philipp Kurashev, all vying for ice time this season with the IceHogs, will be making their first full professional season debuts in Rockford this year. Much like the 2017–18 season, the young group of rookies expected in Rockford look quick early on and should pan out to provide the offensive spark that was missing from last year’s team.

Daily one-on-one: Chad Krys

Talking with Chad Krys after day one of development camp, the longest tenured prospect in camp this year talked with The-Rink about closing his NCAA career at Boston University, making the jump to the professional ranks and what he passes along to the next group of prospects coming up.

On being the “veteran” at development camp:

“Defintely feel like the veteran. A lot of new faces over the years and not a lot of familiar faces that have been here over the years, but yeah I feel a little bit older. Doesn’t feel like it’s been four years, but yeah, it’s different.”

On making the step up to the professional level:

“I thought it was important to get out there at the end of the season and play before the summer. Good to get some experience and get to meet everyone and get to know the systems and the day-to-day life. Obviously going from college to pro is a huge difference and I thought that (Rockford head) coach (Derek) King and the staff really helped me. I felt that I made a lot of strides in the nine games that I was there.”

On taking his time developing through college:

“Most importantly, when you go to college you grow up, both on and off the ice. You get a lot of life experiences off the ice, away from the rink. I think it was really important for my development and I played with a lot of good players (at Boston) that are in the NHL or are going to be in the NHL pretty soon, so it was a great environment there and great place to grow as a player.”

On giving Alex Vlasic (headed to Boston University this year) advice about the college experience:

“Yeah, I’ll probably give him a few places to check out. I think the thing I try to tell all the guys is to enjoy it because once you leave, it’s over. You become a professional and it’s your livelihood. I try to tell them to enjoy it and learn as much as possible.”

On what expectations, if any, the Blackhawks have given him heading into this season:

“I think it’s expected you come into camp in shape and ready to go. Everybody is coming into camp and competing for a spot, and that’s what I’m going to do and I’m looking forward to it. You try to take as much as you can from, for example, my experience at the end of last year and what I can take from this camp here in Chicago. I’m training here and I’m working to make the (Blackhawks).”

More tomorrow on The-Rink!

Center Ice Forums Chicago Blackhawks development camp: Day one takeaways

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    Mario Tirabassi

    The opening afternoon of the Chicago Blackhawks development camp provided a first-look at the entire 2019 NHL Draft class and the continued focus on t
    [To continue reading full article, click here: Chicago Blackhawks development camp: Day one takeaways]

    Mister Ricochet

    Very helpful.   Nicely done………… Great to hear about Wise looking solid.  ……. One of my first thoughts after the draft and seeing the Hawks go big was did the organIzation have a change of philosophy in drafting size?  Seems Dach is as skilled as anyone available at #3 and that Vlasic was the best D on the board at #43 so I’m not really sure yet.

    Gonna have to wait for a couple more drafts to go by to see, assuming StanBow is still the GM.

    Mario Tirabassi

    Wise looked healthy. Dach was impressive in how he moved for a player his age and size. We’ll see how it comes together over the summer but for Day One, not too bad.

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