The Chicago Blackhawks are set at the NHL level -- as of now, 23 players are on NHL contracts, the max. They'll have to make a couple of moves, as they're currently a couple million dollars over the NHL's hard salary cap, but it's worth taking another look at what's in the Blackhawks' system signed for this year.
The Blackhawks currently have 46 players signed for next season -- 23 on NHL contracts, 23 currently "non-roster players" or on minor-league deals (the maximum number allowed under contract to an NHL team is 50, but most teams start the season a few players under that amount to be able to sign players who age out of junior/graduate from college/college free agents at the end of the season). The Indy Fuel can expect to get about 6-to-8 players out of that group of 23. The CapGeek depth chart.
Take note, this is fluid. Trades often involve prospects going both directions, and the Blackhawks will likely sign players who have aged out of junior or college hockey at the end of the season, some of which we'll be likely to see in Indy.
Several of these players will be headed to the Blackhawks prospect camp this week. This post is focusing on the signed players. A post next week will update the unsigned prospects in the system whose rights the Blackhawks control -- the players still in junior, college or European hockey.
There are 12 forwards contracted to the Blackhawks that are currently in the system. Most will be in Rockford, but there's a good chance we'll see one or two of these players in Indianapolis this season.
Phillip Danault: 2011 first-round pick who played his first full season in Rockford (6-20-26 in 72 games).
Ryan Hartman: 2013 first-round pick who played nine games with Rockford (3-4-7) after scoring 25 goals in 52 games in the OHL last season.
Pierre-Cedric Labrie: Came to the Hawks' system after several years in the Tampa Bay Lightning system, predominately in the AHL. He has played 46 NHL games with Tampa.
Brandon Mashinter: Pro hockey veteran who has played 23 NHL games for the Sharks and Rangers. Came to the Blackhawks last season and put up 14 goals in 47 games with Rockford.
Garret Ross: 2012 fifth-round pick who played his first full season in Rockford last year (15-19-34 in 74 games).
Cody Bass: Another veteran who was signed in the offseason. He was the Senators' fourth-round pick in 2005 and has played eight years in Ottawa and Columbus' systems, including 49 NHL games.
Alex Broadhurst: 2011 seventh-round pick, had 45 points in 75 games as a rookie with Rockford last season.
Matt Carey: Rookie left wing who was a college free agent signing out of St. Lawrence. He played two games with the Blackhawks and had a goal.
Drew LeBlanc: Another college free agent signing who played his first full pro season last year in Rockford. Had 22 points in 76 games.
Mark McNeill: 2011 first-round pick who had 18 goals and 19 assists in 76 games for the Rockford last season.
Joakim Nordstrom: Proved he was NHL-ready in a 16-game stint in Chicago last season. Played the majority of his first full North American pro season in Rockford, where he had 33 points in 58 games.
Dennis Rasmussen: Rookie coming over from Sweden. He had 40 points in 52 games last season in the Swedish league. Stands 6-3, 201.
Chicago has seven defensemen signed at the NHL level, and eight more at the minor-league level. Defensemen also take longer to develop, and tend to get more time in the minors. That likely means the Fuel will be getting at least a couple of these guys. Pay special attention to the rookies and players with little AHL experience.
Mathieu Brisebois: Came to the Blackhawks midseason last year after signing as a free agent. Had 10 points in 41 AHL games split between two teams.
Adam Clendening: The 2011 second-round pick, played two years at Boston University and just finished his second full AHL season in Rockford. Had 59 points in 74 games last year. Probably close to being NHL-ready.
Kyle Cumiskey: A veteran of 132 NHL games who has also played several yeras in the AHL. He played the last two years in Sweden and is returning.
Klas Dahlbeck: 2011 third-round pick who has played two full seasons in Rockford. Had 35 points in 75 games last year, including 10 goals.
Dillon Fournier: Second-round pick in 2012 who signed this offseason. He had 32 points in 36 games with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL a year ago.
Stephen Johns: Played eight games with Rockford last season, signing after his college career at Notre Dame ended. A 2010 second-round pick, he had five points in Rockford and 20 in 40 games at UND.
Viktor Svedberg: After two full years in the Swedish Elite League, he came to North America and had nine points in 35 games with Rockford. He's big -- 6-9, 234.
Trevor Van Riemsdyk: College free agent signing who just finished his career at New Hampshire. Had 23 points in 26 games a year ago.
The Blackhawks have five players signed in the organization. We know Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta are pretty well set in Chicago. That leaves three goalies for the IceHogs and Fuel. Expect to see one of these three in Indy.
Mac Carruth: Played the majority of last season -- his rookie year -- in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye (who were the Blackhawks' ECHL affiliate) and Florida Everblades. He also played seven AHL games with Rockford. He had a 3.38 GAA and a .880 save percentage last season in 32 ECHL games, and a 3.36 GAA and the same save percentage in the AHL. He was the Hawks' seventh-round pick in 2010.
Scott Darling: A familiar face to local hockey fans, Darling backstopped the Indiana Ice to a division title in 2007-08. He is a veteran of four minor pro seasons in the SPHL, ECHL, CHL and AHL. He played 26 games in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals (2.00 GAA, .933 save percentage) and six with the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones (2.61 GAA, .916 save percentage) last year.
Kent Simpson: Was an ECHL starter two years ago, and played 31 games for Rockford last season. He had a 3.64 GAA and a .891 save percentage. He also played one period in the NHL with the Blackhawks.