Photo: The Rockford IceHogs second-leading scorer is winger Ben Smith, one of the many prospects with NHL experience in the Rockford lineup this season. (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
Expected by many to be among the top teams in the AHL this season, the Rockford IceHogs have put together another up-and-down start to a season. Even with several players on the roster who are expected to be full-time NHL players when the season begins, the team has managed a 17-16-1-1 record so far in 2012-13. There have been good stretches – four separate stretches have seen the 'Hogs rattle off at least three consecutive wins – but they are always accompanied by times when the team has struggled to come away with any points in the standings.
Photo: One of the top defensive prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks prospect pool, Dylan Olsen will look to continue rounding out his game in Rockford in 2012-13. (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
A significant number of early-round draft picks in recent years have put the Chicago Blackhawks system among the deepest organizations in the league. Although there may not be much in the way of blue-chip talent, the system has multiple NHL-caliber prospects at each position and plenty of players competing at the AHL level.
The selection of talented Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen added skill and offensive flash to the depth forwards and defensemen in the Chicago system. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Three of the Blackhawks' new additions from the 2012 NHL Draft make their debut in the new edition of the team's top 20 rankings, but the most significant storylines heading into the season belong to the prospects playing at the pro level. The NHL work stoppage will lead to a bevy of talent in the Rockford IceHogs lineup, including players like Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, and Brandon Saad who would have had a good chance of breaking camp with a spot in the Blackhawks lineup.