I call the guys who play for the Rockford IceHogs “the babies” because quite a few of them were prospects not so long ago (I know some are older than 21, but they’re babies to me). I was happy to hear that three of the “babies” had been resigned to two-year deals recently:
Brandon Bollig made a big splash when he joined the Blackhawks roster after John Scott was traded. He didn’t score his first Blackhawks goal till the playoffs, but he filled Scotty’s shoes quite nicely with his 58 PIM. And we get two more years of his sparkling wit on Twitter!
Ben Smith was the guy who sent the Blackhawks to a Game 7 in the 2011 playoffs, and even though he wasn’t used that much this season in Chicago, he still had a good year in Rockford. Unfortunately, he had to have hip surgery in March, but word is that he’s recovering nicely and should be ready for training camp.
Carter Hutton stepped up as goaltender for the Hogs when Alexander Salak was sidelined with an injury during the season, and he did quite nicely for them: he was named team MVP for his 2.35 GAA and .917 save percentage. He even got to don the Indian Head jersey twice as backup to Corey Crawford when Ray Emery was out sick. Looks like we have some good depth in net with him.
Unfortunately, a little rain must come with your sunny days, and in this case the resignings came after the team had released Salak on waivers. Word is that he’ll head to Sweden, so he’ll at least be playing and honing his skills more (which is what the Blackhawks wanted from him when they sent him to Rockford). Hopefully by this time next year, he’ll find a good home back in the NHL.
The Blackhawks now have their major players signed and newbies drafted, so now we wait for Free Agency Day. Methinks it’s gonna be good.