Tuesday, July 15, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks and their one OHL prospect are up next.

Ryan Hartman - Plymouth Whalers
Despite performing very well in the AHL at the end of the season (which Hawks fans probably honestly care more about), Hartman did not have a very good OHL season. The Whalers were not a strong offensive team this year and they needed Hartman to be a consistent leader on the ice, and I don't think he was able to accomplish that. He actually became the whipping boy of Whalers' fans this year, justified or not. I think the biggest disappointment I had this year with Hartman was the lack of urgency in his game away from the puck. This was something that made him such a force in his draft year and made me really like him as a prospect. But he didn't play with as much tenacity and intensity this year (at least in the games I saw). The physical component, in correlation with forechecking and defensive awareness just wasn't a consistent part of his game. It looked like he was trying too hard to be an offensive player while neglecting some of the things that made him a top draft pick. I think he simply put too much pressure on himself to be the number one creator of scoring chances on the team and subsequently lost his way a bit. All that being said, he's still a solid prospect (which is obvious by the way he performed at the AHL level this year). Best of luck to him as he starts his pro career this year.

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