When the Chicago Blackhawks invited Alexandre Fortin to prospect camp this summer, even they didn’t expect to sign him to a three-year entry level contract just a few weeks later. It’s a huge step for the twice-undrafted forward from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL.
The 19-year old is the nephew of former NHL goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere and never did really blow away scouts during his junior years. But now, in Hawks rookie camp he turned enough heads to be kept around when the pro camp started, and then enough for the Hawks to invest in him. As assistant coach Kevin Dineen says in Chris Kuc’s latest Chicago Tribune article:
He’s a smart, cerebral kid who has a nice offensive skill set that he’s been able to show here early. He’s off to a real good start and he’s working his way in to trying to find a way into one of our exhibition games.
The Hawks have found overlooked players before, most notably with last year’s Calder trophy winner Artemi Panarin, who, while on the hockey world’s radar, was never believed to be able to step into a top-line, all-star role right away. With Fortin, perhaps they found another late-bloomer who they can shape into an offensive dynamo.
- The Flames have decided to send four players back to their individual WHL teams today; the group includes Brayden Burke, Aaron Hyman, Matthew Phillips and Nick Schneider. Only Phillips was actually drafted by the club (166th overall this year). The team has also cut Dennis Kravchenko from the NHL camp, and invited him to their AHL camp (which he accepted). Kravchenko has scored 61 points in 68 games the past two seasons while playing for UMass-Amherst in the NCAA. An undersized winger, he’s trying to follow the path of Johnny Gaudreau and prove offense is more important than stature.
- Team Europe, the overwhelming underdogs of the World Cup, have now advanced to the final series following an overtime win against Team Sweden. Tomas Tatar, the young flashy Red Wings forward scored twice, including the winner, to send home the defensive powerhouse. The makeshift squad will take on Canada in the best-of-three final series, starting Tuesday night.