By Brad Gardner
All thirty NHL teams are optimistic at this time of summer, but the one thing we can all be sure of is that everything will not go according to plan. Injuries have their way of piling up, players may not live up to expectations, or teams may find that progress made during the summer in one area has left them with a hole elsewhere in the game plan. One of the Blackhawks organization’s responses to the unpredictable nature of the NHL season has been keeping their AHL affiliate within arms reach, roughly 90 miles west on I-90 in Rockford, Illinois. The Third Man In takes an admittedly early look at some possible mid-season scenarios and introduces the prospects who may be expected to answer the call.
So you need a top six forward…
Safe bet: Jeremy Morin is the easy answer here after a solid nine game trial last season. Coming back from a concussion, though, he’ll get back into the swing of things with the IceHogs to start the season. His best asset may be his goal-scoring ability, but he showed as a rookie that he was willing to play any role to stay in the Chicago line-up. The 20-year-old winger is the organization’s best bet if the power play is in need of new life – his cheetah-quick release would be a dangerous weapon with a set-up guy like Kane feeding him the puck.