By Chris Block
Don’t wait for the IceHogs’ leading goal scorer to be back in Rockford, at least for the time being.
Jeremy Morin was told he is up with the Blackhawks for the remainder of the season.
So, unless there is some major change in direction, don’t expect him to be back in Rockford before then, if ever.
I suppose there is a chance he’d return to Rockford in the event the IceHogs team makes the playoffs and the Blackhawks are healthy enough to the point Morin slides down the depth chart far enough. But that would also have to mean Teuvo Teravainen would play outstanding enough that the Blackhawks would no longer care about burning a year on Teravainen’s slide-eligible entry level contract – which contrary to what is being insinuated publically, they are not planning to do so at this time.
–In case you missed it last week, Odds and Saads will be a weekly feature here on TheThirdManIn.com. This is part one of two for this week.
Teuvo Teravainen will make his NHL regular season debut for the Blackhawks when they host the Dallas Stars at the United Center.
My guess is Teravainen will get into 5 or 6 games before the playoffs and then he’ll watch. I do expect Teravainen to be a real good NHL player but unless he comes out and dominates there’s little sense in pushing him into the fire right now.
Teravainen’s season started out disappointing with Jokerit. After a coaching change, and a standout performance at the World Juniors, he returned to light up the Finnish Elite League, Liiga, in January and February. Since, he cooled off considerably.
Also consider Teravainen was held off the scoresheet as his team was swept out of the Liiga playoffs.
No doubt, the Blackhawks don’t mind the hoopla surrounding his arrival. You could argue they’ve cultivated it to a degree and certainly have done little to calm expectations. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s a storyline for the fans and media to get caught up in what is normally a dead period for mainstream news between the trade deadline and postseason.
The Truth About Teuvo
Stan Bowman told the media last Friday that the plan all along was to bring Teravainen to Chicago once his season ended in Finland.
Bowman added that Teravainen’s season ended a little earlier than expected.
What we do know is that prior to Patrick Kane’s MCL injury in the game last Wednesday night against St. Louis, there was a different plan for Teravainen.
There was a lot of debate among fans and online media types over potential scenarios at which could see Teravainen fitting in on the Hawks roster pre-Kane injury.
That noted, there was never going to be a roster move by the Blackhawks to accommodate Teravainen.
The plan was for Teravainen to be assigned to Rockford for two weeks. After which, the Hawks estimated there would be enough cap space to fit a Teravainen recall in for the final three games of the Blackhawks season.
Brenden Morrow falling on Kane’s knee changed that plan. As it did accommodate space for luring Matt Carey into signing with the Hawks.
NCAA hockey tournament
The action begins this weekend and a couple of the Hawks remaining prized unsigned prospects will be in action.
At this point, Stephen Johns appears to have given the Blackhawks no clear indication as to what his plans are once Notre Dame season ends.
Johns can’t join the Blackhawks now until the fall. [update: I got an email this morning correcting me on the 'Hawks 50-man status. They do have one opening, technically. Its due to Ryan Hartman being on a slide-eligible entry-level contract. Hartman won't count against the 50 contract limit in the event he doesn't play in 11 NHL games this season - which he won't. So, the Hawks could add 1 more player to an NHL contract for this season if they so choose. I'll have more on this in another update late Wednesday night. - Chris Block]
Doesn’t seem like anyone is counting on Johns joining the IceHogs after Notre Dame’s season ends either. Johns may decide to finish out the school year and shift his focus to pro hockey later.
The Blackhawks have until August 15th to sign Johns, who is closing out his senior season for the Fighting Irish.
–Saturday’s NCAA slate lines up nicely for ‘Hawks fans wanting to check out Johns and BC’s Kevin Hayes, who will turn pro and could sign an amateur try-out contract with the IceHogs whenever Boston College’s season concludes.
On Saturday at 3pm (central), 1-seed Boston College faces off with Denver in Worcester, Mass in the Northeast regional. That game will be televised on ESPNU.
Then at 8pm, Notre Dame meets St. Cloud State on ESPNU live from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
2013 draft pick Vincent Hinostroza is also a key player for the Fighting Irish. 2012 3rd round pick Chris Calnan is on the Boston College team with Kevin Hayes.
Hayes is a winger on one of the best lines in college hockey.
Rockford IceHogs could use some help
–Help for the Rockford IceHogs could be on the way soon in the form of the Blackhawks 2013 first-round pick, Ryan Hartman.
Hartman’s Plymouth Whalers are down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series to the Guelph Storm. Games 3 and 4 are Tuesday and Wednesday in Plymouth. If necessary, the remainder of the series plays out Friday, Sunday and game 7 would be Tuesday April 1st in Guelph.
Provided he’s healthy, Hartman is expected to join the IceHogs if Plymouth’s season ends within the next week.
Rockford’s regular season ends on Saturday April 19th.
–Here’s one for the comedy department: There was a dumb rumor apparently going around Rockford over the weekend that Patrick Kane would get a conditioning assignment in Rockford before the NHL playoffs. That’s not happening.
–The Blackhawks are at the 50 contract max right now. [update: Again, as noted above, the Hawks do have 50 players under active contracts for the 2013-14 season. However, because Ryan Hartman's deal is slide-eligible and he was loaned back to his junior club for this season, he won't count against the 50-man limit unless he should play in 10 NHL games between now and the conclusion of the NHL postseason, which is highly unlikely. So, the Hawks could utilize one more NHL contract slot for this season should they choose to do so.]
So any new contract signing would have to begin with the 2014-15 season. That doesn’t mean prospects without existing contracts (like Ryan Hartman) or college players can’t sign deals to play out this season in Rockford. They just can’t play for or spend any time with the Hawks.
–One of the reasons Matt Carey signed with the Blackhawks is because they assured him he would stay with the NHL club this season and not be sent to Rockford. There’s a lot of frustration over this one. Carey is considered to still be a very raw talent who really should be in the AHL playing games if he’s going pro at this time. The organization is high on him, as they were Drew LeBlanc last spring, and put on a show of force to impress the 22-year old freshman center in his final weekend playing at St. Lawrence, as was first reported by the CBC’s Eliotte Friedman.
The plan is for Carey to get in 2-3 games with the Hawks before the regular season is over, and then be a black ace. He’ll make NHL money for the next three weeks while practicing and being a spectator, as opposed to playing in and making AHL money for the next four weeks – actually gaining experience, adapting to the environment he’ll be playing in next year and improving on his skills.
–On another note, the Blackhawks sent out 2014-15 season ticket renewal invoices this week which include an average single ticket price increase of 8 percent.
–Speaking of Drew LeBlanc, it should be noted the 2013 NCAA Hobey Baker award winner will turn 25 on June 29th. Two days later, LeBlanc’s contract with the Blackhawks becomes a one-way deal for the 2014-15 season. He’ll make $600,000 no matter where he plays next season.
LeBlanc is an exceptionally nice guy who is usually the first guy on, and last guy off the ice every day. That goes a long way with hockey people, but the results thus far aren’t there. And at 25, you have to wonder how much better can he get.
In effort to outbid several other NHL clubs for LeBlanc coming out of college, Stan Bowman gave LeBlanc a short NHL stint coming out of St. Cloud University’s exit from the NCAA tournament. Then Stan used his influence to secure a spot for LeBlanc on the Team USA roster at the IIHF World Championship’s since LeBlanc’s late signing prevented him from qualifying for either the NHL or AHL postseason.
Now, the Hawks have done something similar with Carey, a prospect a handful of teams were hoping after Carey declared he was leaving college after one season on the ice there.
Matt Carey was ruled academically ineligible for his first season at St. Lawrence, which was to be 2012-13 after making the jump from Canadian Tier II junior hockey. While sitting out, he went on to qualify for the Dean’s list.
Carey is a playmaking center with decent size who was strong in the faceoff circle at the college level. He is from Hamilton, Ontario.
–Hawks signed college free agent Trevor van Riemsdyk to a two-year deal on Monday. His NHL contract, as noted above, will start next season.
Trevor van Riemsdyk was a junior at the University of New Hampshire.
On Tuesday it was announced van Riemsdyk had also inked a 1-year contract for the rest of the season with AHL-Rockford.
Trevor van Riemskyk is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, who was picked one spot after Patrick Kane in the 2007 NHL Entry draft.
Trevor, a defenseman, will join the IceHogs this week. He hasn’t played since breaking his ankle in a game with UNH on January 18th versus Union College.
–Dillon Fournier (FOHR-nee-ay) signed his 3-year entry –level contract with the Hawks earlier this month and that contract doesn’t kick in until next season. Fournier notched 32 points in 36 games from the blue line for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) this season before being sidelined by season-ending shoulder surgery.
NEXT GENERATION OF CHELIOS
Jake and Dean Chelios, sons of Chris Chelios – have turned pro, leaving Michigan State.
Jake and Dean Chelios signed contracts with the Toledo Walleye of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) over the weekend. They made their pro debuts Saturday night in Toledo in a win over the Gwinnett (GA) Gladiators.
Toledo, of course, is the ECHL affiliate to the Chicago Blackhawks/Rockford IceHogs. Toledo also serves as an affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings organization.
MORE ROCKFORD NEWS AND NOTES
–Viktor Svedberg (shoulder) was back in Sweden the past couple weeks spending time with family and friends. He’ll return to Chicago to continue physical rehabilitation under the Blackhawks’ watch.
–Jason LaBarbera’s quad locked up on him during the shootout on Saturday night in Rockford. LaBarbera still held on to stop 4 of 5 Chicago Wolves shooters in securing the 2nd point for the IceHogs and a 2-1 victory.
–Defenseman Brian Connelly has played 8 games for the IceHogs since being re-acquired in the deal that sent Brad Winchester to the Minnesota Wild.
The trade was a reaction by the Blackhawks to Viktor Svedberg’s season-ending shoulder injury. Connelly is a puck moving defenseman the Hawks hoped would solidify the second pairing in Rockford. It hasn’t worked out that way so far.
In his 8 games, Connelly has yet to be on the ice for an IceHogs’ even strength goal. He’s a minus-7 overall – 6 goals against at even strength and the other coming while the ‘Hogs were on a power play.
Rockford is 2-4-1-1 since the trade and have been outscored 23-38 overall, and 17-23 at even strength.
–The other piece to that Winchester-for-Connelly deal that the IceHogs sorely now miss is Zach Miskovic.
When the Hawks got Connelly, the Wild worked out an AHL deal with the Hawks that sent Miskovic to the Iowa Wild as compensation for the Wild’s loss on defense.
Miskovic was devastated when he learned of the deal. He was playing well in Rockford alongside Klas Dahlbeck. And while a lot of guys will look good skating next to Dahlbeck these days, Miskovic held his own, played a smart game and was responsible defensively.
My first impression of the deal when I heard of it was thinking it was a panic move. But I didn’t think it was a bad trade because it showed some aggressiveness in terms of the organization aiming to give the IceHogs a boost for the postseason. Unfortunately, Patrick Kane’s injury had a ripple down affect and now there’s doubt Rockford will even hold on to the 8th spot and make the postseason.
AND TRULY ODDS AND SAADS
–Dan DeLisle, the former Minnesota-Duluth forward who the Blackhawks selected 89th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, is now without a team.
DeLisle was released by the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) last Wednesday. He had been signed by the team in the fall after completing his collegiate career at Minnesota-Duluth last spring. The Blackhawks didn’t make DeLisle an offer and relinquished their rights to their ’09 draft pick. In 21 games as a Steelhead, DeLisle posted 1 goal and 4 assists.
–The head coach of the German Deustche Hockey League team Augsburger Panthers was scouting the IceHogs and Wolves over the weekend. Former IceHogs’ forward and Boston University product Peter MacArthur, and one-time Blues’ prospect Jeff Woywitka played for Augsburger this past season. Woywitka has already re-upped with the Panthers for another year. MacArthur has spent the past two seasons there since leaving the AHL. He last skated for Lake Erie in 2011-12.
Other one-time Rockford IceHogs who’ve played for Larry Mitchell in Augsburg, Germany are defenseman Justin Fletcher and Daryl Boyle, as well as forward and Yorkville, Illinois native Mike Radja.
The Wolves (St. Louis Blues) have several players who are candidates to head overseas if there are bigger offers on the tables to do so. The Wolves do pay AHL contracted players better than most, if not any other team in the American league, but even they’ve seen Darren Haydar, Jason Krog, Brett Sterling and others bolt for gigs in the European leagues.
–Steve Moses, a teammate, and some time linemate of Teuvo Teravainen on Jokerit, announced he is sticking with the Helsinki club next season for its move to the KHL. Moses attended Blackhawks prospect camp in 2011 as an active college player invitee.