Joel Quenneville is taking a good long look at a number of young players as he tries to fill out the roster for the Blackhawks’ upcoming season. In Wednesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Joel Quenneville, Jeremy Morin, Igor Makarov and Nick Leddy all saw a significant amount of ice time. In game two, Friday night in Detroit, Hawks fans can expect more of the same. A pair of 19-year olds, Morin and Leddy will play again Friday night while longtime goaltending prospect Corey Crawford will play the entire game between the pipes.
Crawford, who lost out to Antti Niemi for the backup role at the beginning of last season, seems to have the inside track to the same role this year. “He wants to take advantage of a great opportunity and he’s really enhanced his positioning as we’ve gone through camp,” Quenneville said. “Hopefully he establishes that he can be a goalie at our level and all of a sudden be a regular–and not just a regular, but a good one. I think he’s capable of doing all three.”
As for Morin and Leddy, Quenneville sees success in each of their futures. “They’re young but they look like they can play,” Quenneville said. “It’ll be good for them to get the experience under their belt and at the end of the day we’ll … sit down and make decisions. It’d be nice to have these guys [as] part of the discussion.”
There’s another hot-shot prospect who could make the team as well. At 6’3” and 202 lbs., Kyle Beach is a guy who could fill some of the void left by Dustin Byfuglien. Beach is a powerful forward with the ability to shoot–he scored 52 goals in just 68 games playing for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL last season. “I think he’s had a real good camp. He’s really progressed well,” Quenneville said of Beach. “Looks like he’s go more pace to his game… more involvement in the flow of the game. You gotta love how he shoots the puck. … He’s a goal scorer.”
Beach, however, could be a cap casualty this season. With the Hawks pressed up against it again this year and Beach’s cap number hovering over one million dollars, Beach may be left off the NHL roster.
QUICK NOTE: Marian Hossa will not play in the Hawks second preseason game against the Red Wings. Coach Quenneville said that the star forward would likely play at home Saturday in the Hawks third preseason game.