2009-10: Originally slated to skate for Cedar Rapids in the USHL, Garret Ross was impressive in the Saginaw Spirit’s pre-season camp and decided to pursue the OHL route. Ross, skated in 43 games for Saginaw, missing time mid-season due to a knee injury. He was third on the Spirit with 103 penalty minutes and chipped in offensively, scoring 7 goals with 4 assists and finishing minus-one for the season. He skated in all six games during the Spirit’s playoff series with Kitchener and was an even plus-minus with 12 penalty minutes. Ross was eligible for the 2010 NHL Draft but was not selected.
2010-11: Ross played an energy line role for Saginaw in his second OHL season as the Spirit finished first in the West Division. He was second on the Spirit with 111 penalty minutes and finished minus-six; scoring 6 goals with 9 assists. In the OHL playoffs, Saginaw reached the second round and Ross skated in all 12 playoff games; scoring 3 goals with 1 assist while finishing minus-eight with 8 penalty minutes. Ross went undrafted in the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Ross had a breakout year offensively while continuing to play a physical style in his third season with Saginaw. In 60 games for the Spirit he scored 25 goals with 29 assists and was +13 with 93 penalty minutes. Saginaw got off to a slow start but was one of the OHL’s better teams in the second half of the season; finishing third in the West Division. In 12 playoff games Ross scored 6 goals with 4 assists and was +1 with 23 penalty minutes. Ross was named the OHL’s most underrated player in a poll of the league’s coaches and named Saginaw’s most improved player. Not among the 210 North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft, he was selected by Chicago in the fifth round (139th overall).
2012-13: Ross got his first taste of pro hockey – skating in two games for Chicago AHL affiliate Rockford in April after finishing his season with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Ross got into a fight with Milwaukee’s Michael Liambas less than five minutes into his first AHL game and had no points in his two-game stint with the IceHogs. Ross was the second-leading scorer for Saginaw as a 20-year-old, scoring 44 goals with 46 assists in 61 games, and was +31 with a team-leading 114 penalty minutes. Saginaw reached the playoffs after finishing fourth in the West Division. Ross had 3 assists and was -5 with 8 penalty minutes in the four-game series with OHL champion London. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with Chicago in April 2013.
2013-14: Ross skated in 74 of 76 games for Chicago AHL affiliate Rockford in his first pro season. He scored 15 goals with 19 assists and was +12 with 78 penalty minutes. Rockford missed the AHL playoffs, finishing fourth in the Midwest Division. Ross was re-called by the Blackhawks late in the season but did not appear in any NHL games.
2014-15: Ross skated for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in his second pro season — providing both toughness and scoring for the Blackhawks’ affiliate. He scored 21 goals with 22 assists and was +20 with 100 penalty minutes in 69 regular season games. Rockford finished second in the Midwest Division and reached the second round in the AHL playoffs. Ross scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was +6 with 2 penalty minutes in eight playoff games. He joined Chicago during the Stanley Cup playoffs but did not appear in any games.
Ross is a brawler with a decent skill set. Despite not being overly big, he never backs down from a challenge and is a spirited, hard-working forward. Ross showed that he could skate on a scoring line in his overage junior season and was a 20-goal scorer that topped the century mark in penalty minutes in his second AHL season.
Ross is in the third year of his original entry-level contract with Chicago and will start the 2015-16 season with Blackhawks' AHL affiliate Rockford. He has shown both scoring ability and a sandpaper-type game while playing with the IceHogs but with a deep group of forwards at the NHL level for the defending Stanley Cup champions he has had to be patient. Long-term he is not likely to be a big point producer but his hard work and skills around the net project him as a versatile, complementary NHL winger.