This past weekend was the Tom Kurver's Prospect Showcase. The three teams involved were the St. Louis Blues, the Minnesota Wild, and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks played St. Louis on Saturday night and Minnesota on Sunday afternoon and both games were streamed so I had a chance to see the players hoping to make teams this season.
As a life-long Hawks fan, I was excited to have the chance to watch these young players. Of course the draw for most viewers was to see whether Connor Bedard would live up to the hype. He did not disappoint. A hat trick was more than any of us expected for the St. Louis game. In the end, the score was 5-0 Hawks. Unfortunately, the next afternoon the Hawks fell to Minnesota 5-4. Can't win them all.
Goalies are my favorite players, and Drew Commesso had a justly deserved shutout. While he'll be playing in Rockford this season, his debut shows that great goaltending is definitely in the Hawks future.
Does this mean that the team is automatically rejuvenated? Can we expect them to rise exponentially in the rankings and even make the playoffs? No. But watching should be fun again. The compete level is there. And in the early stages of a rebuild that's all fans can expect. Fingers crossed that this is just the Strat toward better things to come.
Training camp starts this week and fans should see more of how these new prospects fare against seasoned players. Roll on hockey season. October can't come too soon.