Here are 10 things to watch for at the Chicago Blackhawks’ upcoming prospect camp:
1. Dano’s arrival: This will be the first opportunity to see forward Marko Dano on the ice for the Blackhawks. Dano, 20, was the second key piece the Blackhawks received in the trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Brandon Saad. Dano was the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He had 21 points in 35 NHL games as a rookie last season and produced seven goals and 12 assists over the final 27 regular-season games after being called up in February. He’s expected to be in the Blackhawks lineup next season. He’ll wear No. 56.
2. A chance to make another impression: The Blackhawks are expected to have a few openings in their NHL roster next season. Obviously, no decisions will be made soon, and there will be some notable prospects missing from the camp, but it is an opportunity for players like defenseman Stephen Johns and forwards Kyle Baun, Tanner Kero, Mark McNeill and Garrett Ross to continue to prove themselves even if it’s just participating in drills. Work ethic and attitude are always being noted.
3. The missing players: Not all of the Blackhawks’ prospects will be attending the camp. All of the Black Aces -- forwards Phillip Danault and Ryan Hartman and defensemen Ville Pokka and Viktor Svedberg -- will not be in attendance. Artemi Panarin was also allowed to skip the camp after a long hockey year, which included a deep run in the KHL playoffs and playing in the World Championship. Panarin is expected to arrive to Chicago in August.
4. Upcoming defensemen: The Blackhawks are loaded with young forwards on the verge of the NHL. It’s not as clear what their defenseman situation going forward is after they traded Adam Clendening, Klas Dahlbeck and Mike Paliotta in the last year. Johns and Pokka are highly thought of in the organization. Trevor van Riemsdyk would also fall in the young defenseman category. Svedberg got more responsibility last season. After that group, the Blackhawks have a lot of defensemen who possess potential, but it’s still unknown where they’ll land in the future. Among the defensemen to watch at the camp will be Carl Dahlstrom, Gustav Forsling, Dillon Fournier, Erik Gustafsson, Sam Jardine, Robin Norell and Robin Press. Dahlstrom, Norell and Press were drafted in 2013 and have been playing in Sweden. The Blackhawks acquired Forsling, 19, from the Vancouver Canucks for Clendening in January. Fournier was drafted in the second round in 2012 and played in the ECHL and AHL last season. The Blackhawks signed Gustafsson as a free agent in April. Jardine will be entering his senior season at Ohio State.
5. Potential to leave school early: The Blackhawks have a few players who could consider leaving college early after next season. Vincent Hinostroza, who will be at the camp, did that this past year and signed with the Blackhawks after his sophomore season at Notre Dame. Nick Schmaltz, the Blackhawks’ 2014 first-round pick, and Anthony Louis, a 2013 sixth-round pick, could be candidates for that next year. Schmaltz had a strong freshman year at North Dakota and has some special offensive ability. Louis continued to impress the Blackhawks’ front office this past season as a sophomore at Miami Ohio. The Blackhawks have become more aggressive in making sure they keep their college prospects after losing Kevin Hayes to free agency.
6. More notable forwards: Other forwards to watch at the camp will be Chris Calnan, Ryan Haggerty, John Hayden, Luke Johnson and Tyler Motte. Haggerty, 22, was the player the Blackhawks received from the New York Rangers in exchange for Antti Raanta. Calnan, Hayden, Johnson and Motte will all be entering their junior years in college and have shown promise.
7. First look: All seven of the Blackhawks’ 2015 draft picks will attend the camp. Six of the seven will take the ice; defenseman Joni Tuulola will be an off-ice participant. The Blackhawks’ first selection in this year’s draft was 18-year-old forward Graham Knott with the No. 54 overall pick. The other draft picks were defenseman Dennis Gilbert (No. 91 overall), defenseman Ryan Shea (121), forward Radovan Bondra (151), forward Roy Radke (164), Tuulola (181) and forward John Dahlstrom (211). Liam Coughlin, who was recently acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for Anders Nilsson, will also attend the camp.
8. Second look: Eight of the Blackhawks’ nine draft picks from 2014 will also attend the camp. Goaltender Ivan Nalimov is the only player who will not be there. Nearly all of the Blackhawks’ 2014 draft picks will be entering their freshman or sophomore years in college next season. Schmaltz was the lone pick the Blackhawks had in the first two rounds in 2014.
9. Invitees: The Blackhawks have invited 19 players outside of the organization to the camp. Yushiro Hirano, a 19-year-old forward, is from Japan and played in Sweden last season. Michael Doherty, a 21-year-old forward, has been Hayden's teammate at Yale. Kevin Rooney, a 22-year-old forward, was a senior on Providence’s national championship team this past season and was named the team’s unsung hero.
The Blackhawks will also have six goaltenders in attendance. Matt Tomkins, who will be a junior at Ohio State, is the only Blackhawks’ prospect among those goalies. Connor Lacouvee, 21, was the backup goalie at Boston University last season. Kyle Hayton, 21, had a 1.95 goals-against average and .937 save percentage as a freshman at St. Lawrence last season. Michael Lackey, 18, has been part of the U.S. national development program. Stefan Steen, 22, played in the Swedish Hockey League last season. Brandon Hope, 21, played in the OHL last season.
10. Details: The Blackhawks’ prospect camp is open to the public and will be held at Johnny’s IceHouse West. The camp begins on Sunday and runs until Friday. More information can be found at chicagoblackhawks.com.