ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers counts down the days to the opening of Blackhawks training camp on Sept. 19 with a look at 20 storylines facing the team this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks will turn to some more prospects this season. Here's a look at some of those players who could be factors:
Jeremy Morin, forward
Morin, 23, doesn't exactly feel like a prospect any longer, but the reality is he's only played in 39 career NHL regular season games over the past three seasons. He's expected to finally get a full-time look this season. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville has said Morin will be given a larger role this season. Where Morin fits in with the Blackhawks' lineup may be more apparent after Bowman makes a trade or two to get under the salary cap. Morin has a high offensive upside and showed some of that last season with five goals and six assists in 24 games with the Blackhawks.
Teuvo Teravainen, forward
Teravainen, 20, is considered the Blackhawks' top prospect. He got a taste of the AHL and NHL last season after finishing his season in Finland. He didn't have much left in the tank by the end of the season following a full year of traveling for his European club team, international competitions for Finland and for the Blackhawks in the preseason and the end of the regular season. He's spent most of the summer in Chicago training and bulking up. Quenneville raved about Teravainen's final performance at prospect camp in July. Teravainen will be a slight longshot to make the NHL roster out of training camp based on the current roster, but he has the ability, especially with his passing and vision, to make it a difficult decision for the Blackhawks.
Stephen Johns, defenseman
Johns, 22, is one of a number of defenseman prospects who could be on the verge of the NHL. Johns spent four years at Notre Dame and held more than his own in his short time with the Rockford IceHogs last season. He is a big body and could soon be the most physical player the Blackhawks have in their organization. He has a chance to push for an NHL spot at training camp depending on what is done with the roster.
Adam Clendening, defenseman
Clendening, 21, has the offensive game to be in the NHL right now. He was among the AHL's top defensemen with 12 goals and 47 assists in 74 games last season. His defensive game is making strides. The Blackhawks don't want to rush him until they're confident in his overall game. He should get some time in the NHL this season.
Klas Dahlbeck, defenseman
Dahlbeck, 23, impressed the Blackhawks with his improved offensive game last season. He's still a stay-at-home defenseman, but he's made himself into more of an overall player. He practiced with the Blackhawks throughout the playoffs last season. Like Johns and Clendening, Dahlbeck could find himself in the NHL this season.
Joakim Nordstrom, forward
Nordstrom, 22, was the prospect who surprised everyone last season by making the NHL roster out of training camp. He was back and forth throughout the season, but ended up playing in 23 total NHL games, including seven playoff games. The Blackhawks like his defensive game at the NHL level. He also proved to be a consistent offensive player at the AHL level. He could fill a fourth-line role again this season.
Brandon Mashinter, forward
Mashinter, 25, could find his way onto the Blackhawks roster being the enforcer type Quenneville often likes to have on his team. Mashinter came to the Blackhawks in a trade with the New York Rangers last season. He had 14 goals, 14 assists and was a minus-8 in 47 games with the IceHogs. Pierre-Cedric Labrie, 28, and Cody Bass, 27, were signed in the offseason and could also fit that role.
Mark McNeill, forward
McNeill, 21, would be among the next group of forwards ready to make that jump to the NHL. He went through some inconsistencies during his first full professional season, but a number of Blackhawks personnel liked how he responded late in the season. He's a strong player and has adjusted well after moving to the wing from center. If the Blackhawks are in need of a physical forward, he could fill that void at some point this season.
Alex Broadhurst, forward
Broadhurst, 21, may still be a year or two away, but he showed a lot of potential last season and was even recalled by the Blackhawks for a day. He finished third in points behind Morin and Clendening on the IceHogs with 16 goals and 29 assists.
Others to watch:
Kyle Cumiskey, defenseman; Dennis Rasmussen, forward; Garret Ross, forward: Phillip Danault, forward; Ryan Hartman, forward, Trevor van Riemsdyk, defenseman; Scott Darling, goaltender.