Aug 302011
Johan Mattsson, Aug 9, 2011, Lake Placid, NY –

In ten days, about 24 of the Blackhawks top prospects will arrive in Oshawa, Ontario to compete in the annual Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Invitational Tournament.

The Leafs, Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins will participate in the four-day, round-robin points-based tournament.  The same four competed against one another last September when the exhibition was staged in London, Ontario.  Chicago has been invited for the second consecutive year, having replaced the Boston Bruins, the only change in the foursome since 2009.

Toronto announced its roster way back on August 9.  Ottawa and Pittsburgh did so on Tuesday.  Click the links to preview their squads….

Maple Leafs – 25 players
Penguins – 23 players
Senators – 26 players

Chicago has not yet announced its participants.  Last year, the Blackhawks released their 24-man roster three days prior to the first game.

The Blackhawks will play games Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11.  After a practice day, they’ll finish up on Tuesday September 13th.

Sat Sept 10 – 7pm vs Maple Leafs
Sun Sept 11 – 2pm vs Senators
Tue Sept 13 – 2pm vs Penguins
-all times Eastern.  There is no playoff round, nor championship game.

College-bound or current collegiate players are not eligible to compete due to NCAA athletic eligibility restrictions.  So don’t look for Adam Clendening (BU), Braden Birch (Cornell), Joe Gleason (North Dakota), Justin Holl (Minnesota), Kevin Hayes (BC), Michael Paliotta (Vermont), Nick Mattson (North Dakota) or Stephen Johns (Notre Dame).

While not official, the Hawks roster will look a lot like this…

G- Johan Mattsson (Sudbury-OHL), Kent Simpson (Everett-WHL), Mac Carruth (Portland-WHL)

D- Dylan Olsen (Rockford), Joe Lavin (Rockford), Shawn Lalonde (Rockford), Ryan Stanton (Rockford), Ben Youds (AHL deal-RFD)

C- Brandon Pirri (Rockford), David Gilbert (Rockford), Byron Froese (Rockford), Andrew Shaw (AHL deal-RFD)

W-Jeremy Morin (Rockford), Jimmy Hayes (Rockford), Kyle Beach (Rockford), Rob Flick (AHL deal-RFD), Philippe Paradis (Rockford), Ludvig Rensfeldt (Sarnia-OHL), Mirko Hoefflin (Acadie-Bathurst-QMJHL), Phillip Danault (Victoriaville-QMJHL), Brandon Saad (Saginaw-OHL), Mark McNeil (Prince Albert-WHL)

That’s 22 players there.  Marcus Kruger is likely and Joakim Nordstrom (Sweden) is another possibility.  Players who’ve had a limited amount of NHL games can partake.  Nordstrom, Johan Mattsson and Ludvig Rensfeldt were all in Lake Placid earlier this month representing Sweden at U20 WJC Evaluation camp.  There are likely to be one or two outside invites, probably on the defense, from the pool who attended July’s prospect camp at Johnny’s Ice House.  Youds was at July’s camp and earned himself an AHL deal with Rockford.

Klas Dahlbeck, the third defenseman taken by the Hawks in the 2011 draft and second in the 3rd round, won’t be attending.  According to a report in Sweden’s Aftonbladet, the Blackhawks requested permission from Dahlbeck’s Swedish Elite League team, Linkoping, but were denied.

The prospects will return to Chicago the Tuesday night following their final game against the Penguins’ team.  Main camp is tentatively scheduled to open Thursday Sept 15, when players officially report for preseason medicals and physical evaluations.  The public “Training Camp Festival” is Saturday September 17 at United Center.  The 18th and 27th are the only days the UC won’t be available due to arena being rented for other events.

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  9 Responses to “Prospect Tourney in Oshawa Takes Shape”

  1. Saw via the ‘Hogs site that they have signed Brian Fahey to an AHL contract. Not the NHL experience that Exelby or Cullimore had as last year’s veteran d-men, but he’s a solid AHL guy.

    Are you alright with a guy like Fahey serving as mentor to this group? Looks right now like him an McLean are it in terms of that kind of player. Any thoughts to how Chicago/Rockford is going to handle a team that was young last season and even younger right now?

    • Fahey is a nice addition. He’s not any better than Exelby. It’s nice to have another right-handed shot on the power play though.

      They could still use another veteran dman, but with all six d-spots plus depth in Danis-Pepin and Ben Youds locked down (and the possibility of John Scott passing through waivers and winding up here), the likelihood of that happening at this point is probably slim.

      They have a lot riding on young defensemen (Lavin, Olsen, Lalonde, Stanton) rising to their potential immediately.

  2. Chris You will recall I just asked you the other day if the ice hogs were going to go with such a young top4 on d. Well here’s our answer in fahey, that is great ahl signing in my opinion. A guy who has won a Calder cup. A perfect role model for olsen, lalonde and lavin.

    • Yeah, we talked about it on the podcast this week as well. The team was just too inexperienced, younger and slightly smaller than last year. Fahey and Brandon Segal help patch those holes a bit. Make no mistake, Segal was signed to play in Rockford.

      I liked Fahey. His addition doesn’t upgrade the Hogs in any way over last season’s group. He’s more of a replacement for Vishnevskiy than anyone else. But its an add they desperately needed.

      Brandon Segal was signed to play in Rockford as well. Another right-handed shot with decent skill for the AHL. Again, he probably won’t replace Taffe’s offense, but Segal brings decent size (6-2, 215) and he’ll help pitch in and take some heat off the young guys (Beach, Hayes, Morin, Paradis) who the IceHogs will need to be consistent offensive producers if they’re to be playoff contenders.

      In a perfect world, they’re still one key veteran scorer up front and another reliable defender away from being a complete and potential playoff team.

  3. Fahey is a solid replacement for Exelby. Since the Hawks are carrying 8 DMen on the NHL roster things would have to get really pear-shaped for him to get a look in the UC, unless it’s Game 80 and the Hawks aren’t playing for anything.

  4. Danult’s Victoriaville team starts its season on September 9th, and he’s been playing in their exhibitions. Don’t know if the Hawks would rather he play juniors or get the experience of the prospect tourney.

    • Danault is leaving the Tigres to be at Blackhawks’ training camp. Unless something has changed, I don’t know why he would not take part in the prospect tournament now as well. CHL is a developmental league so its different than with Nordstrom or Dahlbeck who would have to leave their Swedish pro teams.

  5. Chris have you heard anything in terms of how the 7 hawks did at lugano?..

    • Not a word. Sessions were closed off to media all week from what I heard. There was just the one day (Wed) when players (and not all as it happened) were made available to speak.

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