For MacKenzie Entwistle, the hard work is paying off in his adjustment to the pro game.
The 6-foot-3 forward was named Rockford's Most Improved Player during the 2019-20 campaign, finishing fourth in scoring with 26 points (11G, 15A) in 56 games and second among rookies behind Brandon Hagel. Entwistle's strong season came after a slow start with just one assist in his first five contests and finding the scoresheet in only four of his first 12 games.
"His game really progressed over the season," Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman said. "When we paused the season, he really had stepped forward as one of the stronger players in Rockford."
"It was a learning process for him this year, kind of learning what the expectations are as a pro, showing up every day whether it's a gameday or a practice day, doing what needs to be done," said Blackhawks Assistant General Manager/Player Development Mark Eaton. "As the season progressed and he fell into that routine and bettered his processional habits, I think it showed up in the game product."
Chicago hopes now that Entwistle's inclusion in the 31-man roster for Phase 4 will continue his development trajectory with eyes on the future for the sizable forward.
"He's got some versatility to his game, he's got really good instincts and he's got a large frame -- he's got the long legs and a big torso, so he's got the reach to his game. I think he's working on his overall strength to be a powerful player," Bowman said. "He's still not fully developed as far as his strength profile, but very good instincts. I think he really understands the game well."
"Smart player, has some nastiness to him," Eaton added. "He's always willing to take hits and do what needs to be done for the team. The kind of glue guy that you need on teams. I think that he has a good future with the Blackhawks."