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FEATURE: Versteeg eager to show AHL deal is no joke

Two-time Cup champion has plenty to prove in return to Blackhawks organization

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

Kris Versteeg doesn't have to do this.

He doesn't need the money, he doesn't need the fame and he doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. He has a wife and just welcomed his third young child and could be content with being a family man who had a distinguished NHL career, including helping the Blackhawks capture Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and '15.

Why, then, is Versteeg extending his hockey career by signing with the Rockford IceHogs with an eye toward a third stint with the Blackhawks.

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FEATURE: Kunitz looking to pass on veteran knowledge

In new role as player development advisor, Blackhawks hope 15-year veteran can help shape next generation

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

When a four-time Stanley Cup champion - particularly one who played 15 seasons in the NHL despite not being drafted - talks, people listen.

At least that's what the Blackhawks hope with their hiring of Chris Kunitz as player development adviser in their hockey operations department.

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FEATURE: A moment 49 years in the making

As the Blackhawks get set to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup, Toews and Kane reflect on the moment that changed everything.

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

It wasn't until he had the Stanley Cup in his hands that Jonathan Toews allowed himself to accept what had just happened on the ice that June 9, 2010 night in Philadelphia.

While teammates were celebrating Patrick Kane's overtime goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final against the Flyers that gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory and their first championship in 49 years, Toews played it safe until the moment NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman handed him the most famous trophy in sports.

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NOTEBOOK: Wrapping up 2019 Development Camp

Standout players, thoughts from Director of Player Development Mark Eaton and a special guest during the week-long camp

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

Those in attendance at the 2019 Blackhawks Development Camp scrimmage did more than just beat the sweltering Chicago heat on Friday, they also got themselves a glimpse at the future.

And it looks pretty darn bright.

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FEATURE: Kubalik gets first taste of Chicago during Dev. Camp visit

23-year-old forward uses Development Camp visit to get jump start on main camp learning curve

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

Like many first-time visitors to Chicago, Dominik Kubalik spent much of his time sightseeing and meeting some interesting people.

The Czech Republic native and Blackhawks prospect was most impressed with "the parks and all the buildings" and declared Chicago "beautiful."

Kubalik, whom the Blackhawks acquired in a trade with the Kings in January, was in town with his girlfriend this week getting his first taste of the city while also meeting with Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman, coach Jeremy Colliton, several Blackhawks players and fellow prospects at the 2019 Blackhawks Development Camp.

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FEATURE: Hobey Baker finalist Dylan McLaughlin eyes different path to NHL

Canisius College standout set to begin pro career in Rockford on AHL deal

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

About 20 minutes prior to the start of practices at Canisius College in Buffalo, players will often filter out of the dressing room and take the ice to fiddle with pucks and get in some individual work before the full coaching staff calls the team to order.

Throughout his four seasons at Canisius, forward Dylan McLaughlin was a noticeable presence at the informal pre-practice sessions, so it was confusing to head coach Trevor Large when he skated out one day early in the 2018-19 season and saw McLaughlin not on the ice but seated by himself on the bench.

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FEATURE: Blackhawks blue line of future on display at Development Camp

Boqvist, Beaudin and Mitchell eager, but patient, in path to NHL

by Chris Kuc / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks top three defenseman prospects, Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin and Ian Mitchell, each possess a unique set of skills that have them on track to - if all goes according to plan - collectively form the backbone of the franchise's blue line at some point in the future.

Perhaps more significantly, they share the most important attribute required as they continue their paths to the NHL: Patience.

While Boqvist, Beaudin and Mitchell hold the same dream as each of the prospects attending the 2019 Blackhawks Development Camp this week in wanting to play in the NHL as soon as possible, they realize rushing the process will do more harm than good.

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FEATURE: Blackhawks add versatile leader in Zack Smith

SVP/GM Stan Bowman continues trend of adding multi-position forwards with Senators alternate captain since 2017-18

by Chris Kuc / Blackhawks.com

Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman has spent the summer methodically revamping a Blackhawks roster that came up short in too many areas last season.

Bowman struck again Tuesday by acquiring Zack Smith from the Senators in exchange for Artem Anisimov, a deal that should help improve the Blackhawks penalty kill, faceoff percentage, versatility among the forward positions and most definitely cleared some space under the NHL's salary cap.

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THREE THINGS: What you need to know about Zack Smith

Get to know the veteran forward acquired from Ottawa

by Chris Kuc / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks shook up their mix at the forward position with the acquisition of Zack Smith from the Senators in exchange for Artem Anisimov. Smith's contract has an AAV of $3.25 million and is signed through the 2020-21 season.

Here's what you need to know about Smith:

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FEATURE: Reality setting in for Dach at Blackhawks Development Camp

From being recognized around town to bumping into Jonathan Toews at the rink, Development Camp is off to a 'surreal' start for Kirby Dach

by Chris Kuc / Blackhawks.com

Kirby Dach's first surreal moment after arriving in Chicago for the 2019 Blackhawks Development Camp came Sunday night while he dined with fellow prospects at a popular steakhouse.

"A couple of people came up and said, 'hey, good luck for the season,' " Dach said Monday after participating in drills during Day 1 of the camp that will run through Friday at Fifth Third Arena. "It's a little bit surprising. In a small town you kind of know everybody and everybody knows you and you come here it's a lot bigger so for somebody to know who I am that's definitely special."

Things then got downright sublime for the St. Albert, Alberta native who calls the nearby Fort Saskatchewan (pop. 24,000 or so) his hometown when he bumped into Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in the dressing room of the practice facility Monday morning. Dach admitted he "got a little bit tongue-twisted and I didn't know what to say to him.

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