Second Balcony Breakdown: Prospect Camp Edition

Also known as the "Welcome Back Kruger" edition (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)

Also known as the “Welcome Back Kruger” edition (Photo: Bridget Samuels/flickr)

On this episode of Second Balcony Breakdown, Casey and I are joined by Kim Wrona, Rockford IceHogs/prospects writer for The Committed Indian, as well as this very website.

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Topics include:

  • Marcus Kruger‘s re-signing for two years at $1.325 million a year, which should wrap up Chicago Blackhawks’ offseason signings.
  • Discussing Blackhawks Prospect Camp, which took place last week, where Kim fills us in on who impressed, who didn’t do so well, and where we can hope to find some of these guys next year (hint: mostly with the Rockford IceHogs)
  • Other goings-on around the league, including Ilya Kovalchuk‘s retirement from the NHL and Tyler Seguin‘s parents doing him no favors with these interviews with the media after his trade to the Dallas Stars
  • My Little Blackhawk: Hockey Is Magic is our new favorite Blackhawks-related site.
  • Follow us! I’m at @RunsOnDuncan, Casey is at @Raedances, and Kim is at @kimwrona7.

Also, I’d like to send a special shoutout to our friend Lee (@CaptainMVP) for troubleshooting our audio-related problems. Without her, this podcast would’ve probably never happened.

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2 thoughts on “Second Balcony Breakdown: Prospect Camp Edition

  1. Pat

    Since no one has replied to this I thought I’d whip up a mega reply to make up for it. Enjoy my word vomit that mostly follows the discussion you were having at the time. It trails off a bit here and there, and I make no promises of continuity. Sorry.

    Contract burying – I think it’s up to 925K of the contract gets buried, anything over that the remainder will still count against the cap. So with a 1M contract, 75K of that would still affect the NHL cap.

    Brookbank’s role and 7th dman – His role is pretty much expected at this point to just give relief when Rosival needs to rest his legs, obviously. I could easily see Brookbank ending up on waivers later in the year, and giving the #7 spot to Stanton. Hell, we could actually get a low draft pick for him honestly.

    Stephen Johns – He’s been getting nothing but better every year. Completely agree with you, I can definitely see him being our next thumper at the blue line. His skating was his biggest weakness, and he’s clearly been working at it. If not for us being such a good team, I’d be worried we’d end up in a similar situation as Anaheim with Justin Schultz. Here’s to hoping Seabrook really takes the kid under his wing when he finally does get here.

    Danault – Maybe with injuries etc he’ll make an appearance with the big club, but likely a year in Rockford, and maybe a stint late in the year or the playoffs. My guess is he gets a similar deal in Rockford that Pirri did unless he really shines again in training camp and preseason. He’s great on the draw, which is always something this team needs.

    Development is the name of the game with the Bowman regime. It might not have looked like it a few years ago when the 2010 team was disassembled and we called up a ton of prospects, but that was mostly out of necessity. In the present and future it’ll probably be very similar to how Scotty molded Detroit in his time there, and how Detroit still follows that model now. We have a solid core, don’t rush the prospects into roles they aren’t ready for which could really hurt their development. Give them plenty of time to develop properly, and call them up a few years in when they can make an impact, rather than being a liability.

    Ben Smith – No chance he gets put on waivers. If not for the concussion from Brendan Smith in the 11-12 preseason, he probably would have been on the roster that year. If not for the hand injury back in January right before the lockout ended, he probably would have been with the Hawks this year. I’m confident his injuries are really the only thing holding him back from being here in Chicago at this point. He may never crack the top 6 here, but he’s definitely one of those guys you want in your bottom 6 when going deep into the playoffs who can also add a real scoring threat to those lines.

    Pirri – He’ll be here. At this point, the 2C slot is really his to lose this year. I see the signing of Zus as being more a safety net in case the kids falter and we need some stability back in the lineup, rather than him taking any one role full time. Maybe the 4C assuming Kruger steps up to 3C and Shaw moves back to the wing.

    Leblanc – I’m guessing he signs a 2-way deal and hangs out in Rockford for 1-2 years, unless he really comes out guns blazing at training camp. The college game isn’t quite the same as the pros, and he was older than a lot of the players he was playing against. A good center no doubt, but he’s probably going to need at least a year to adjust to the pros before making the NHL leap.

    Morin and Hayes – Like you said, Morin’s defensive play developed a lot this year. He still takes some dumb penalties, but he has a fantastic shot. I’d love to see him here over Hayes, but for some reason we’ve seen a lot more of Hayes than we have of Morin in the past. For a guy who looks like a giraffe on skates, for some reason they love calling him up to play.

    Pronger and Marc Savard – Sad more than anything. As massive of a prick as Pronger is, I still hate to see him ending his career on such a note. Marc was a fantastic player to watch, and it’s a shame he’s likely going to end his career this way.

    Kevin Hayes – Didn’t he undergo like 4 or 5 surgeries this year to fix something in his arteries or veins in his leg(s)?

    Antti Raanta – I’ve read it may be an ankle injury, but it didn’t sound serious. He’ll probably see a bit of NHL time this year, but Khabi is likely here to give him a year in the AHL to get used to the North American game. The surface is smaller, the game is a lot faster, and the players can shoot a lot better. Having Khabi helps ease his transition. That being said, and without having seen him play yet, what a free agent steal that was.

    Hjalmarsson – Hopefully his re-signing isn’t too bad. For as good as he is defensively (the widely popular Hjalmarsson Missile Defense System), years later he still puts up hardly any numbers offensively, so that will limit his contract a bit. If we keep him around, I’d guess it’s for no more than 4-4.5 million, and that’s being pretty generous I think. What he’s really doing right now is living up to his 3.5m contract, which he wasn’t doing before.

    On pesty players and Draft strategy – This is exactly how the team will likely be built for the next several years. You have the core locked up, and you fill the bottom 6 with your budding young pesty forwards. When they are ready for their big payday, you let them go do that elsewhere and bring in the next crop. The pesty guys are far easier to replace every 2-3 years than your Toews – Kane – Sharp – Hossa in the top 6. Especially when you are winning and likely drafting with low picks every year. By the time you get to 20+ in the first round, even in a deep draft like this past year, you aren’t going to find many players that you actually expect to be in the top 6 of a team. What you are likely to find are guys that have a strong likelihood of being solid bottom 6 players. Look at our first rounder this year, Ryan Hartman. He’s expected to be a great 3rd liner with that grit and pestiness, but can also actually play hockey. You keep drafting that way, and keep a lookout for some diamonds in the rough that happen to fall to you that you can take a chance on, because you have a stable of good but not great prospects to fill your bottom lines without having to actually pay veterans 1.5-3M to do it. Teravainen shouldn’t even be in our system, it’s basically black magic that caused him to drop all the way to 18th overall because every team before us was drafting defensemen. Saad was an absolute steal in the second round, but he was a bit of a long shot, and was passed over because of injuries by a lot of teams. As long as we get prospects like those once a year or three, the top 6 can remain at the top tier for years to come, while preserving that much needed 4 deep lines for the playoffs. If you want a perennial contender with the possibility to become a dynasty in the salary cap era, this is exactly how you do it.

    Bollig – Suffers from a lot of the same things that John Scott did. He’s so good at fighting that it’s rare anyone actually wants to go with him. I swear half the time he fights it’s fucking Reaves, which that is just a rivalry between the two that goes back…I’m not sure, juniors probably. There’s also this huge problem of the dude can’t really play hockey, so anyone who fights him, the matching 5 minute majors would be a net loss for the other team pretty much every time. Unless maybe he fought John Scott. It sucks, because like John Scott I actually love the dude, but he doesn’t have enough hockey in him to warrant giving him a roster spot. I wish he could get a little more accurate with that rocket of a wrister he has, then maybe.

    Kovalchuk – His cap hit from retirement basically goes up roughly 500K a year every year he stayed after this one. As much as I hate it, it’s really the best thing for both parties. For as fantastic as his steal of Cory Schneider was, everything else he’s done lately is awful, starting with not forfeiting that pick last year. Short of winning the cup, no pick could have been better for it. Sure they can trade for someone elses’ pick, but they’d pay through the nose with resources they don’t have. No Parise, no Kovalchuk, Brodeur is almost certainly gone after this year, same with Elias a year or two after that. It’s going to be a rough ride for Devils fans. Maybe Ryan Clowe can use his mad bench hockey skills to score a goal or three, in addition to stopping some rushes.

    Vancouver isn’t moving anything. They don’t have the depth to drop their 2 scoring leaders, even if they do disappear in the playoffs. That, and Gillis is a giant baby who thinks Luongo is worth a first rounder, a top prospect, an NHL roster player, and your first born. Then proceeds to trade an good, if not on his way to becoming elite, NHL starting goalie for a 9th overall pick. Talk about putting pressure on the new kid in town, Bo Horvat sure has his work cut out for him now.

    Seguin – Why would the organization need to defend themselves for the Seguin trade? He’s done enough damage on his own. I am pretty sure most Bruins fans, like most of the league, don’t fully understand just how good Loui Eriksson is. Sure, Seguin has more upside down the line, but Eriksson is a great player with a friendly cap hit who’s already performing, and there’s no guarantee Seguin ever reaches his potential. Seguin will likely turn it around in Dallas though, I don’t see Jim Nill giving him much leash to work with.

    Also, congrats to Stan Bowman, the last move he could have made to really ice this cake of happiness he’s baked this year was made by not only trading Carcillo, but actually getting more than a bag of dog food and some used chew toys in return for him.

    Look forward to seeing more you folks in the future, cheers!

    Reply
    1. Liz

      I have made my peace with bollig being the 14th forward or whatever. He can’t score when Kaner gives him an ENG on a plate, but his defensive hockey has improved to the point where he could play with Kruger and Fro and do fine. Plus he’s dirt cheap so let’s keep him around this year and give the bb pests some time to cook in the Rock. Definitely don’t need him, Carcillo and Shaw, and I think Stan picked the right one to trade.

      Reply

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