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Chicago has ‘six guys going for a couple spots,’ says GM Bowman

Sep 10, 2013, 12:44 PM EDT

Stan Bowman AP

The reigning Stanley Cup champions are returning a majority of the team that won it all in June.

That means roster spots for the 2013-14 season are sparse — just ask GM Stan Bowman.

“We’ve got probably six guys going for a couple spots, and may the best men get it,” Bowman told the Chicago Daily Herald. “We have a pretty consistent roster from last year, although there are some spots at forward that are open.”

A quick recap of who came and left Chicago this offseason…

INS: Nikolai Khabibulin, Mike Kostka, Theo Peckham, Brad Winchester

OUTS: Ray Emery, David Bolland, Michael Frolik, Viktor Stalberg, Dan Carcillo

The ‘Hawks also re-upped with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Corey Crawford, Marcus Kruger, Michal Rozsival, Michal Handzus and Nick Leddy, ensuring a large core of role players from last year’s squad remained in place.

So…who’s in line for a job at forward?

Kyle Beach, the 11th overall pick in 2008, could finally be ready to make the leap. The 23-year-old power forward scored 16 goals with AHL Rockford last year (leading the team with 204 PIM) and could replace some of the sandpaper lost in the Bolland/Carcillo departures.

Another leading candidate for a job is 21-year-old Brandon Pirri, the club’s second-round pick at the ’09 Draft. Pirri led AHL Rockford in scoring last season (75 points in 76 games) and has seven games of NHL experience under his belt.

Speaking of NHL experience, the likes of Jimmy Hayes (41 gmaes), Ben Smith (20) and Jeremy Morin (15) should also make a push for a job.

On defense, there are fewer opportunities available. Hjalmarsson, Leddy, Rozsival, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya are entrenched as the top six.

Kostka, Peckham and Sheldon Brookbank have the most NHL experience in terms of depth guys, but one to keep an eye on is 20-year-old Adam Clendening, the club’s second-round pick from 2011.

He led all Rockford d-men in scoring last year, with 46 points.

 

  1. alexbaymac - Sep 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    I think I read the phrase “An embarrassment of Riches” used recently to describe this situation. A great place to be in but it shows the ‘wisdom’ of StanBo; letting the guy who got the GWG for the cup go right after winning it was unusual but, along with several other unusual trades/non-signings, these spots were freed up. Without that, the young talent coming up would have gotten frustrated with no real openings & either soured or left. This way leaves legit spots to aim for & as Stan said “may the best men get it”!

    • mattyg89 - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      Letting Bolland go was a smart move. Yes he scored the cup clinching goal but he failed told show up when called upon and that’s what you ask for in a top 6 forward. Great player don’t get me wrong, but wasn’t worth the contract. I can see morin or smith (hopefully both) making the main squad this year.

  2. esracerx46 - Sep 10, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    GWG in the final is somewhat overstated. It was Bollands contribution or lack there of as to why he is in Toronto. He was unable to prove he is a capable 2nd line center. Was often injured and had his 3rd line duties disappear with a cheaper and younger player or players in Shaw and Kruger. Hated to see him go, but with his cap hit he had to go.

  3. bwana63 - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Beach??? No chance.

  4. chicohawk - Sep 10, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Pirri is going to be given every opportunity to make the team at 2nd line C…Expect him to be on a line with Hossa to provide some defensive cover to help him adjust…

    Having just attended the rookie tournament & watching his 3 closest competitors for that spot (Danault, McNeil & LeBlanc) I can say that Pirri will have the inside track….Of the other 3, I’d have to say Danault is the most versatile (played some wing at the tourney, also PK & PP, etc.) & has the edge, but LeBlanc looks like he may be the more offensively gifted…

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