I emailed blackhawkbob today to see if he had any thoughts on a new post. My complaints about it being a pretty slow day were met with a staunch reply, ‘What do you mean slow, Lee Stempniak was traded today!’. So there. When I first read it, I thought to myself, ‘Meh, who cares, St. Louis finally realized they’re playing for nothing and took a couple of guys Toronto gave up on long ago.’ Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized the significance of what I wasn’t thinking. Usually when trades are made, I like to take a look and see where the traded player would fit on the ‘Hawks roster. The thought didn’t even cross my mind today because these days, they don’t need Stempniak. It’s a really weird feeling. (Editor’s note: Yes, I know by typing what I just did, there will be multiple injuries to ‘Hawks players and Stempniak would then most definitely be a better 2nd line winger than Bryan Bickell.)
Taking a look at a few prospects in the ‘Hawks system, I’m going to make some hasty judgements on players I’ve only seen on grainy YouTube videos. By the way, when blackhawkbob or I mention prospects, we almost always are talking about guys playing in juniors or college. Everyone has seen the guys that play at Rockford; it’s not that exciting. There’s something so much more exhilarating talking about guys we’ve only seen play in spurts than it is to dissect Jake Dowell and Michael Blunden.
Kyle Beach– The ‘Hawks number one pick from this past year’s draft is off to a solid start for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Or is he? He’s got 7 goals and 12 assists in 18 games. Four of those assists, though, came in a 8-6 win over the Kelowna Rockets and one of the assists was on a empty net goal. He also already has 46 penalty minutes so his reputation of being an agitator is certainly ringing true. No word how many players’ girlfriends he has offended so far.
Akim Aliu– The New Nigerian Nightmare has only played in 7 games this year for the London Knights in the OHL. I’m sure Bob knows (or someone else) but I’m almost positive he was hurt for a little while. He played in Friday’s game against Peterborough so I’m guessing he’s back for the time being. Aliu has 4 goals and 3 assists so far to go along with 17 penalty minutes. The Nightmare is cut from the same cloth as Beach in that they’re both big, physical wingers who like to mix it up.
Maxime Tanguay– The younger brother of Alex is third in scoring on the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He’s got 9 goals to go with his 9 assists in 22 games so far. This guy was playing in the QMJHL at 16 years old so now at 20, he’s a seasoned veteran. Although he’s probably still a couple years away, Tanguay is certainly a guy to keep an eye on, as he profiles as a play-making center and there doesn’t seem to be too many of those in the ‘Hawks pipeline.