Following a hot start to the season for the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate for the Chicago Blackhawks, the squad has settled into a familiar spot in the standings. The 'Hogs hold the eighth spot in the West with an 18-18-4-2 record but have played three to four more games than many other teams.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ organizational depth has begun to break through to the NHL level in 2013-14. Led by Brandon Pirri, a handful of prospects have seen playing time in Chicago so far this season, while the depth on the wing and the blue line allowed General Manager Stan Bowman to swing a trade for former-Blackhawk Kris Versteeg.
One’s a little bigger and has a bit more physicality to his game, while the other is slightly smaller, but has a little more offensive flair. One’s more serious and business-like in his approach; the other’s a little more jovial and laissez-faire. The question of which one preferred country and which preferred rock ‘n roll wasn't asked.
The Chicago Blackhawks maintain a prospect pool that features both quantity and quality, from potential top-six forwards to versatile blueliners that could contribute down the road. There have not been many changes at the top, but the 2013 draft class increased the competition for lower spots and put three new prospects inside the Top 20.
The Chicago Blackhawks possess a deep pool of blueliners at the collegiate level, from imposing physical presences like Stephen Johns and Michael Paliotta to smooth skaters Justin Holl and Nick Mattson. Centers Kevin Hayes, a first round draft choice in 2010, and Drew LeBlanc, recently signed as a free agent out of St. Cloud State, are also high-profile prospects who developed at the NCAA level in 2012-13.