The months leading up to the 2015-16 season saw the Chicago Blackhawks shuffle several players. In terms of prospects, the Blackhawks sent out Stephen Johns, Michael Paliotta, Alex Broadhurst, and Joakim Nordstrom in a variety of trades. Futhermore, Matt Carey, Drew LeBlanc, and Mac Carruth were not extended qualifying offers with the team, though Carruth signed an AHL deal with the Blackhawks’ minor league affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. Defenseman Sam Jardine signed a contract with the IceHogs as well, hoping he can use this opportunity to earn an NHL-contract with Chicago in the foreseeable future.
The 2015-16 season is one of uncertainty for the Chicago Blackhawks. The harsh realities of the salary-cap era were quite evident during the offseason. Brandon Saad (CBJ), Patrick Sharp (DAL), Antti Raanta (NYR), Stephen Johns (DAL), Michael Paliotta (CBJ) and Alex Broadhurst (CBJ) were all parts of trades meant to add flexibility as well as talent to the organization. Furthermore, the likes of Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Antoine Vermette have found new teams through the free agency market. In other words, this year’s Blackhawks squad will look different than the 2015 Stanley Cup Champions we saw in June.
The Spring edition of the Hockey’s Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects concludes with the top 10 prospects.
The Blackhawks are stockpiled with young talent, especially down the middle and on defense. Six of those prospects got a look at some point during the 2014-15 season, the most notable being Finnish phenom Teuvo Teravainen.
However, with Chicago having eliminated the Minnesota Wild in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s quite evident head coach Joel Quenneville feels more comfortable playing his seasoned veterans in the postseason as supposed to the rookies. Teravainen and Joakim Nordstrom only dressed for two games in the first round series against the Nashville Predators, while defenseman Michael Paliotta has been a healthy scratch.