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FEATURE: Whirlwind week brings Entwistle to Chicago

Following a trade from Arizona, MacKenzie Entwistle finds himself in Chicago for the 2018 Development Camp, eager to make an impression

by Chris Wescott /

You wonder if MacKenzie Entwistle's head has stopped spinning.

As he stepped off the ice last week following a training session in Toronto, the 19-year-old forward wasn't expecting what happened next.

Video: MacKenzie Entwistle on getting traded to Chicago

"I clicked the home button on my phone and I had a whole bunch of missed calls from the Arizona GM and from Chicago and my agent," he said. "I didn't know what was happening, so I called the Arizona GM back, John Chayka, and he told me the news that I had been traded to Chicago and I couldn't be happier."

Entwistle was one of several pieces exchanged by the Blackhawks and Coyotes. He, along with Marcus Kruger, Jordan Maletta, Andrew Campbell and a 2019 fifth-round pick headed to Chicago, while Marian Hossa, Vinnie Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle and a 2019 third-round pick were bound for the desert.

"It was such a shock," said Entwistle. "I still had all my equipment on and I was kind of nervous when I saw all those missed calls."

But the whirlwind week had just begun for Entwistle, who soon got an invite to attend the 2018 Development Camp just four days from then.

"I got a call from Stan Bowman and he kind of explained to me everything that was going down and he said 'I know it's tough being traded as a young player' and he told me that they had their Development Camp coming up and he'd like to see me down here.

"I'm excited to be down here."

Entwistle had no idea where he stood in the pecking order of Blackhawks prospects, having just joined a completely new organization.

"The first thing I did was look at the prospects of Chicago and see if I knew anyone and I was lucky enough to know a couple of guys."

Entwistle had met fellow 2017 draft pick Henri Jokiharju at the NHL Scouting Combine and knows Kyle Maksimovich from the Ontario Hockey League. Now he's trying to learn a lot more new faces.

"It's been great so far. I think the biggest thing for now is meet the players and get a little more comfortable each day, get to know the staff really well and I think that's what I've been doing. I'm just going to continue to do that and build off of it."

Entwistle was selected in the third round, 69th overall, of the 2017 NHL Draft. He was a well-regarded prospect heading into the draft process. The words "grit" and "work ethic" standout in his scouting report, but there's skill to go along with that. He seems himself as complete player who takes pride in his defensive game.

"I'm a big two-way centerman," he said. "I'm able to play up and down the lineup, whether it's on the third line or first line. I've also played a little bit of wing, playing alongside Robert Thomas in Hamilton. I take pride in penalty killing. I'm a big power forward."

Last season for the OHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, Entwistle scored 13 goals and added 25 assists in 49 regular season games. He stepped up in the playoffs, potting 10 goals in 21 contests, helping the Bulldogs hoist the J. Ross Robertson Cup as league champions.

"It was great," he said. "Obviously, we had a great team in Hamilton and I think it really brought my game to another level. The longer you play in a season is more hockey and it's way more fun. No one wants to lose and it kind of brings the winning out of you. I think that's something I really fed off of and I'm going to try to take to the next level."

Now that the dust has settled on his trade to Chicago, Entwistle is settling in among his fellow prospects. He hopes to make a good impression on the organization and show them their acquisition will pay off.

"My goal is to make it to the NHL and play for Chicago," he said. "If that doesn't happen, I'll go back to Hamilton and hopefully have another great season."

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