The annual midsummer Prospect Camp is a melting pot of young hockey players fresh from the draft, returning prospects eager to show off the fruits of a year’s labor, and free-agent invitees trying to throw their hats in the ring. College guys mingle with juniors players, and the result is a neat blend of skill and drive. This year’s camp saw two days of fitness testing and intense on- and off-ice workouts, followed by three scrimmages that took on distinct storylines, including a shootout to decide the second tilt and a wildly entertaining back-and-forth affair to close the week.
Mark Kelley, the Blackhawks’ Director of Amateur Scouting, came away impressed with the overall crop of talent, especially the growth of the 2011 class, most of whom were attending camp for the second time.
“What I really liked was not only the players we drafted this year, what they showed, but the players who we drafted last year and the improvement we saw in them,” Kelley said. “Last year’s class was very special, and it continues to be a special class this year.”
Indeed, five of the nine standout players listed below are from the class of 2011, but overall, this year’s camp attendees left a strong impression on fans and Hockey Operations alike.
“My expectations are always high, and...now I’m very satisfied and think that the camp met my expectations,” Kelley said.
Terry Broadhurst, LW
2012-13 team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Broadhurst finished the 2011-12 season with an eight-game stint in the AHL after signing a free-agent contract with the Blackhawks and showed off his skill and scoring ability at his second Prospect Camp. Broadhurst’s best moments came in the final scrimmage on Friday, where he potted two goals, including the game-winner for Team Red.
Broadhurst will report to Rockford next season, where he’ll continue to hone his offensive abilities in the professional game.
“I just want to keep my head low and learn as much as I can, just take it all in,” he said. “For me it’s just about working hard every day, keeping it simple, and just taking it day by day and not getting too caught up in everything or looking too far ahead.”
Adam Clendening, D
2012-13 team: Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Clendening had an eventful year at Boston University and with Team USA at World Juniors, pacing Terrier defensemen with 33 points (4G, 29A) in 38 games and leading American blueliners with a goal and four assists in six tournament appearances. Clendening’s physicality and high-end offensive instincts were on display at Prospect Camp, where he logged a goal in Friday’s scrimmage.
Members of the Blackhawks brass are understandably optimistic about Clendening’s future, signing him to an entry-level deal earlier this summer. He’ll likely start the season in Rockford, with an eye on getting a taste of the NHL in the near future.
“I’m not going to change too much, just trying to have a big summer and get physically ready for more games and a faster pace,” Clendening said. “The year at BU really helped me. I focused on some little things that these guys wanted me to and the coaches at BU wanted me to. They were hard on me, and it ended up working well for me.”
Phillip Danault, C
2012-13 team: Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Danault plays a refined two-way game, and his speed and awareness across the ice stood out all week at Prospect Camp, where he scored a goal in Thursday’s scrimmage. After logging two assists in seven games for the IceHogs to finish the 2011-12 campaign, Danault will return to the Q to captain the Tigres for a second season.
“Phillip is that consummate two-way center,” Blackhawks VP/GM Stan Bowman said. He makes plays—he probably doesn’t get enough credit for his offensive game—and he does all the little things like blocking shots and winning faceoffs. The coaches love that side of him.”
Kevin Hayes, C
2012-13 team: Boston College (Hockey East)
Hayes followed in the footsteps of current Blackhawks Ben Smith and older brother Jimmy by winning a national championship with the Eagles this past season. Kevin made big strides in developing his power game and spent significant time at center. His size and strength were on full display at Prospect Camp, where he logged a goal and two assists in three scrimmages. He’ll return to BC as an upperclassman to defend the Eagles’ NCAA title.
“I’m a very consistent player, my [defensive] zone play has gotten a lot better, and hopefully when I get the puck I can bring it to the net,” Hayes said about his progress.
Vincent Hinostroza, C
2012-13 team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
Fans got a glimpse of Hinostroza’s creativity and vision last week, as the 2012 draft pick and local product was everywhere on the ice at Prospect Camp. Hinostroza “had an outstanding camp,” according to Kelley, ending the week with three points (1G, 2A) in three scrimmages, including a smooth wheel-and-deal assist on a goal by Denis Hollenstein.
Hinostroza will head back to Waterloo for his third full USHL season after posting 44 points (20G, 24A) in 55 games in the previous campaign—second most on the team—and playing in the Clark Cup Final against fellow Blackhawks prospect Alex Broadhurst.
Sam Jardine, D
2012-13 team: Ohio State (CCHA)
A blueline prospect who has flown under the radar in the Blackhawks system, Jardine put forth a solid showing at camp, fighting Aaron Schmit and being named top defenseman of the first scrimmage. Jardine’s final year in the AJHL saw improvements at both ends of the ice, and at 18 he’ll bring two years of Blackhawks Prospect Camp experience with him to Ohio State.
“I hope I’ve prepared myself well [for college hockey],” Jardine said. “That’s something I take pride in—physical conditioning, mental preparation, stuff like that. I don’t think it’ll be too hard of a transition; I’m a pretty hardworking guy and shouldn’t have too many problems with the book work. It’s really exciting, something I’ve been looking forward to for two years now.”
Mark McNeill, C
2012-13 team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
McNeill was physically one of the strongest players at Prospect Camp, and he tied for first (with Mihail Plotnikov) among all skaters with three assists in three games. The 2011 draft pick signed an entry-level deal this summer and could start the fall in either Rockford, where he finished the previous campaign, or back at Prince Albert for his final year of juniors.
“This year, Mark took a big step,” Bowman said. “He just looks a lot more comfortable to me, and he’s making an impact in the scrimmages. He’s a big, strong kid; he had a good season and then he trained hard.”
Brandon Saad, RW
2012-13 team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Saad had a bit of an advantage going into his second Prospect Camp after breaking into the Blackhawks roster for four games of the 2011-12 season, but in between his two stints in the NHL, Saad put up 76 points (34G, 42A) in 44 OHL games and was named captain of Saginaw in mid-January. In the OHL playoffs, Saad’s scoring line was a team-leading eight goals and seven assists.
Saad put on a clinic during the camp finale, scoring twice for Team White while trying out a new position: center. The experiment was a personal request, according to Stan Bowman.
“It’s good competition,” he said. “It’s good to have guys wanting to try different things like that.”
“It was a good week,” Saad explained. “It was nice to be back in Chicago, and it went pretty quickly. I got to meet some new guys and see some old faces, so that was fun.”
Teuvo Teravainen, C/RW
2012-13 team: Jokerit (SM-liiga)
The Blackhawks’ marquee selection from the 2012 draft was one of the highlights of Prospect Camp. Although Teravainen is on the slim side, his speed, vision and skill were all in the top tier among camp attendees. Teravainen was tied for the lead (with Pat Mullane) with four points (2G, 2A) in three scrimmages, and showed some fancy stickhandling and incisive passing during drills and games.
Although the Finn has high-end potential, Blackhawks fans might have to wait a couple more seasons to see Teravainen on North American ice.
“I need more strength, so maybe a couple more years in Finland,” Teravainen said. “It’s hard to say. It’s my dream to play here, but I need to work on so much so that can happen.
“I think Teuvo has shown in his short time here that he’s going to be a special talent, and he’s not even 18 yet,” Bowman said. “He’s got that flair for making special plays, so he’s a lot of fun to watch.”