Over the weekend the Chicago Blackhawks rookies and prospects attended a tournament in London, Ontario along with rookies/prospects from the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins. For the most part the Blackhawks roster mirrored the Rockford IceHogs upcoming roster with a few prospects thrown in and some invitees.
The Hawks prospects did not win any of their games however they were close as two went to shoot out and we all know how well even the big club does with shoot outs. The games were very entertaining. Since this was a basically informal tournament there is not too much to fret over or maybe too much to gleam from but there were some observations worth noting.
In general the boys need to tighten up in their own zone and learn to close gaps better and not get out of position but that comes with experience. On the defense Stephen Johns was a force. He does remind one of Brent Seabrook not only due to his size but his reach and stick work. Even if Johns gets in trouble he somehow manages to recover which is huge if that skill can translate to the pro levels.
Viktor Svedberg is just flat out huge physically with a booming shot from the point and surprising agility in his skating for a big man.
Dillon Fournier is such a smooth skater and really graceful strides and does not mind jumping up on the rush and getting involved offensively. Trevor Van Riemsdyk also had a couple of plays where he defended his zone well.
The game against the Pittsburgh Penguins saw Teuvo Teravainen and Mark McNeill sitting out. That being said Phillip Danault had a great tourney he had a lot of assists and one goal in that game with the Pens where he scored a beauty of goal from his knees. Hard work and never giving up on plays and driving the net are Danault staples. What was also evident and maybe something most people have not noticed is his passing abilities are top notch. He had multiple tape to tape crisp passes to set up teammates perfectly. Also Danault was teamed up with line mates that he does not usually play with which made his passing prowess more impressive.
The pass of the tourney however belonged to Teuvo Teravainen which is no surprise. He had a gorgeous behind the net no look pass to a waiting Mark McNeill in front of the net that Patrick Kane was worthy of. What is obvious is Teravainen has innate offensive hockey sense he is crafty and always in the right place at the right time it seems. His hands are soft as butter and his vision is uncanny.
Mark McNeill is going to be a pure sniper, if someone can get him the puck this guy knows how to bury it. The chemistry between him and Teravainen was very good and will only get better if they are both in Rockford together or on the Hawks.
Hawk Invitee Brett Welychka also impressed. He has been invited to a number of camps with the Leafs, Lightening and now the Hawks and it was evident and he has a booming shot as well.
Matt Carey also had a good tournament and was all over the ice and had the game tying goals against the Penguins.
Hawks fans get out to Rockford and catch these guys, you won’t be disappointed.