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What we learned about the Rockford IceHogs from Chicago Blackhawks camp

Jaxson Stauber makes a stop during the Blackhawks' prospect camp in Chicago on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Stauber is in the running to be a goalie for the Rockford IceHogs next season.

Jaxson Stauber makes a cease in the course of the Blackhawks’ prospect camp in Chicago on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Stauber is within the operating to be a goalie for the Rockford IceHogs subsequent season.

CHICAGO — With all the group kicking off a sweeping rebuild, this was a vital prospect camp for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The camp, which began final Monday and ended with Friday’s intra-squad scrimmage, was vital for the way forward for the Hawks — and for the way forward for their AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs.

“This sort of kicks issues off. … It is right here,” Hogs coach Anders Sorensen stated of final week’s prospect camp, and of the brand new period. “We wish to have the ability to develop the gamers, and their habits, that is going to hold them after they play in the NHL. And we need to win as effectively, there’s obtained to be a stability there.

“We’re excited to be part of this.”

Extra Hogs: Chicago Blackhawks name new head coach of Rockford IceHogs amid busy time

When anybody in the Hawks or Hogs group says “this” lately, they’re normally speaking concerning the prolonged reconstruction that principally began with the current hirings of basic supervisor Kyle Davidson and head coach Luke Richardson.

And each have already expressed that they know the significance of protecting the pipeline from Rockford to Chicago sturdy.

“The highway between Rockford and Chicago is far shorter now, and the connection between the 2 groups is significant to our plan,” Davidson stated just lately. He additionally added, about this week’s camp: “It has been full of a lot of self-motivated, enthusiastic individuals.”

Listed here are three issues that we discovered concerning the Hogs from Hawks camp:

The Hogs-to-Hawks pipeline will move

A group of players break from a huddle during the Chicago Blackhawks Development Camp in Chicago on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

A bunch of gamers break from a huddle in the course of the Chicago Blackhawks Growth Camp in Chicago on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

The Hawks unloaded numerous veteran expertise and a ton of wage of late and are all the sudden one of many youngest groups, aside from Patrick Kane (33) and Jonathan Toews (34).

The Hawks traded winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators on draft day for a first- and a second-round decide. Then they dealt Kirby Dach in a draft night time swap, hauling within the No. 13 decide and the 66th general decide. They wound up with 11 draft picks in all, with each one in all them making an look at prospect camp.

Not all of them will go well with up in Rockford, however a lot of them will take that route, which will probably be used so much within the close to future.

“We had numerous good, younger gamers to take a look at this week, and so much to consider,” Richardson stated as camp closed. “And we had been watching intently.”

With the roster of each the NHL and AHL groups anticipated to be younger, inexperienced, and in fixed flux, the Hogs-to-Hawks’ pipeline is bound to be a busy one subsequent season.

There are new goalies within the combine

The 2 Hogs’ stars in internet from the previous 5 years are gone as Collin Delia signed a one-year take care of Vancouver proper as NHL free company opened up final week, and Kevin Lankinen signed a one-year take care of Nashville two days later.

Newly acquired Petr Mrazek and just-signed Alex Stalock are anticipated to battle for the Hawks’ beginning nod, which means a pair of rookie goalies that had been eventually week’s prospect camp will almost definitely be in internet for the Hogs subsequent season, battling Arvid Soderblom for time. That race is led by Jaxson Stauber, who seemed sturdy at camp this previous week. Mitchell Weeks, additionally at camp, may push for time between the pipes for the Hogs, as may newly signed Dylan Wells, who appeared in three video games with the Chicago Wolves final season.

“It is a improvement league, and everyone knows that,” stated Hogs assistant coach and former crew captain Jared Nightingale. He is one of many coaches on workers on the prospect camp.

“Every year, the precedence is constructing the Blackhawks. We’re all on the identical crew,” he stated. “It is an thrilling time, and with the success final yr in Rockford, we count on extra this yr within the upcoming season.”

And Rockford has at all times been a breeding floor for Chicago goalies. Delia and Lankinen are the 2 newest examples of Hog goalies to both make it, or give it run, in Chicago. Others embody Corey Crawford, Antti Niemi and Jean-Francois Berube.

Acquainted names might be in fold

Chicago Blackhawks forward Colton Dach, center, celebrates a goal with Adam Gaudette (11) and Dylan Strome (17) during the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in Independence, Mo., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Chicago Blackhawks ahead Colton Dach, middle, celebrates a purpose with Adam Gaudette (11) and Dylan Strome (17) in the course of the first interval of a preseason NHL hockey recreation towards the St. Louis Blues in Independence, Mo., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photograph/Colin E. Braley)

Whereas the overwhelming majority of the Hogs and the Hawks rosters will probably be new subsequent season, there will probably be at the least two final names that will probably be acquainted to Hogs followers.

Colton Dach, the brother of Kirby Dach who was simply traded, battled exhausting at prospect camp final week. Although it should take a while, he is anticipated to see a while for the Hogs within the close to future. And ahead Dylan Sikura, a one-time Hogs fan favourite, and brother of one other former Hogs’ star Tyler Sikura, simply returned to the group.

Colton Dach, the 6 foot, 3 inch, 205-pound ahead chosen by the Hawks within the second spherical of the 2021 draft is the youthful brother of Kirby Dach, who was taken by Chicago third general within the 2019 NHL draft, and was then dealt final week. He was one of many standouts all week at prospect camp.

“You slowly begin to notice that every one this can be a enterprise,” Colton Dach stated final week in Chicago. “However I am nonetheless taking part in it for the love the of the sport … And I simply need to play for a winner.”

Colton and Kirby performed in a single preseason recreation along with the Hawks final season, after which Colton went on to put up 79 factors for the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets. He’ll be a part of this rebuild, and shortly.

Ahead Dylan Sikura was simply signed to a one-year, two-way contract, returning to the group after being drafted by Chicago within the sixth spherical of the 2014 draft and taking part in for the Hawks and Hog from 2018-20. Sikura performed in 5 video games with the Colorado Avalanche final season and recorded an help. He additionally frolicked with the Colorado Eagles, AHL affiliate of the Avalanche, and was sixth within the league with 73 factors.

Jay Taft is a Rockford Register Star sports activities reporter. E-mail him at and comply with him on Twitter at @JayTaft. Sign up for the Rockford Excessive College e-newsletter at Jay has lined all kinds of sports activities, from the Chicago Bears to youth sports activities, for greater than 20 years on the Register Star, and for almost 30 years all collectively. He was a four-sport athlete himself, and is the daddy of 5 that went on to be jocks of some sort as effectively.

This text initially appeared on Rockford Register Star: Rockford IceHogs: Chicago Blackhawks camp shows team pipeline strong

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