Eric, Kontiola is certainly a prospect the Blackhawks are high on following another strong campaign in the Finnish Elite League and a good showing at Prospects Camp. But as your list suggests, it's going to be very difficult for him to come in and earn a job at center this year with the depth the Blackhawks currently have. Promising 2nd round pick Dave Bolland is in a similar situation.
Look for them to be your top two centers in Rockford this year and play for the Hawks at some point in a call-up roll. Their time in Chicago will come. Just maybe not this year.
In a previous edition of Hawks Insider, I suggested that Denis Savard may go with a group of five captains this season, with one permanent 'A' and two pairs alternating home and road games. Below is a sampling of fan feedback on the Blackhawks' captaincy.
Alex Gratys, Park Ridge, IL
C - Marty Lapointe
A - Marty Havlat
A - Brent Seabrook
Joe Scatchell, Avon, CT
Marty Lapointe gets the "C" in my book. True leader who walks the talk.
Adam Roths, Wichita, KS
As for who should be considered for the 'A' on the Blackhawks this year, I would like to see Patrick Sharp get a chance. He may not be the most dynamic player on the team, but he makes a difference on and off the ice, and after seeing him play over the last two seasons there is no reason not to expect production from him. Most of all what I think makes him a good candidate for the 'A' is that he seems proud to be a Blackhawk, something that I would like to see from more players on the team. No matter how the team is doing during the season he is proud to play in Chicago and he plays like he has something to prove; he really is a good example for players to follow.
Mark Batliner, Griffith, IN
Ruutu should be the captain. He leads by example every time he steps on the ice. Seabrook and Toews should wear the 'A'.
Ari Aberman, Chicago
Alternates: Havlat, Seabrook, and Robert Lang
Maybe: Ruutu...Yes, he is the longest tenured Hawk, but how many games of NHL experience does he have? Not enough to merit an 'A' quite yet.
Bill Gernant, Houston, TX
I think whoever is named captain(s) and alternates needs to be guys who will be around for a while. Toews, Seabrook, Havlat, Keith and Ruutu seem to fit that criteria.