Rockford IceHogs playoff preview


While the Chicago Blackhawks were never in the playoff picture, the Rockford IceHogs have made the playoffs for their second straight season under head coach Anders Sorensen.

Their third-place finish is their best since 2015–16. The IceHogs finished with 39 wins, the most since their 2017–18 campaign where they won 40. This will be their third-ever playoff meeting with the Grand Rapids Griffins. While the Hogs are mixture of AHL veterans and prospects, they might have the best group of defensive prospects the Hogs have seen a long time.


The Hogs were led in points by AHL veterans Brett Seney and Mike Hardman. Seney put together a historic season at Rockford. He recorded 63 points (23 goals and 40 assists) and is the sixth IceHogs player to reach 60 points in their AHL era. He was tied for eighth in the AHL in points, which was the first top-20 finish in scoring since the IceHogs legend Brandon Pirri recorded 75 points in 76 games. Seney also became the highest-scoring winger in IceHogs history.

The highest-scoring prospect on the Hogs was Cole Guttman. Guttman had 16 goals and 24 assists in 39 games at the AHL level. Guttman also spent 27 games in NHL this season, recording four goals and two assists. Guttman will be joined by NHL player Lukas Reichel. Reichel struggled this season at the NHL level but figures to gain some valuable postseason experience.


Rockford’s defense was anchored by Blackhawks prospects Ethan Del Mastro and Nolan Allan. Del Mastro was a 2021 fourth-round pick of the Hawks. This season he was elected to the All-Star game as the IceHogs’ lone selection. In addition, he earned a promotion to the NHL for two games this season. Allan appeared in 60 AHL games this season and played with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. He was a first-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2021. In addition to Del Mastro and Allan, the Hogs will feature prospects Louis Crevier and Wyatt Kaiser on the blue line.


In the net, Rockford was a two-headed monster with prospect Drew Commesso and second-year AHL player Jaxson Stauber. This was Commesso’s first AHL season after playing three seasons at Boston University. Commesso racked up a .906 save percentage and a 2.65 goals against average in his first AHL season. While Commesso was a second-round pick of the Blackhawks in 2020, Stauber was an undrafted college free agent signee of the Blackhawks in 2022. He appeared in his second AHL season amassing better numbers than his first season, with a .902 save percentage and 2.85 goals against average. He now holds the IceHogs’ records of 13 consecutive wins. As of April 20, Stauber went 13–0–0 with a 2.00 goals against average over that 13-game stretch. While Stauber has the hot hand, the Hogs figure to start Commesso in net.

Grand Rapid Griffins

The IceHogs’ opponent is the Grand Rapid Griffins. The Griffins finished second in the Central Division with a record of 37–23–8–4 for 86 points. It is their 18th playoff berth in 28 seasons. The Griffins were led by Jonatan Berggren with 24 goals and 32 assists for 56 points. Berggren was a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2018. He has appeared in 79 NHL games over the last two seasons. In net, the Griffins were led by Sebastian Cossa. He had a .913 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average on the season. He was the first-round pick of the Red Wings in 2021.

For the season, the Griffins were 6–4–2–0 against the Hogs and 4–2–0 at the BMO Center.

The series kicks off Saturday at the BMO Center at 7 p.m. CDT.

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