Photo: Defenseman Adam Clendening, a second round pick in 2011, leads the Rockford IceHogs in scoring in 2013-14 (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
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.
Photo: Brandon Pirri earned an opportunity on Chicago’s second line and has responded with three goals, one assist in his last five games (courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon SMI)
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.
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.