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Survivor: West Madison St.

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With the pre-season now mercifully over, the Hawks coaching staff, along with Stan Bowman, have some decisions to make. There are only a limited number of roster spots available for the forward corps, and the final cuts before the regular season begins should happen today. From where I sit, the Hawks have 14 forwards vying for 13 spots. Half of those spots are pretty well spoken for (Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Bolland, Kopecky, and Brouwer). Fernando Pisani has earned his way onto the team with reliable penalty killing, so he's going to be on board. Jack Skille, arm injury notwithstanding, more than differentiated himself from the pack, and will be on the opening night roster, though whether he is well enough to dress will be another story. Bryan Bickell provides some size, versatility, and grit, and the Hawks have made it clear he's been in their plans for this season since last year, and Bick, while not emerging as a Troy Brouwer-like figure in the scoring department, has certainly not pissed the opportunity down his leg. Now that's 10 spots filled. So that leaves Jake Dowell, Jeremy Morin, Viktor Stalberg, and Ryan Potulny to fill the remaining three spots. Now I'm no scientician, but that's one guy too many. Let's take a look and see who gets sent to Rock Vegas.


Jake Dowell

#28 / Center / Chicago Blackhawks

6-0

199

Mar 04, 1985


Pros

  • Is the only true center remaining
  • Solid on the PK

Cons

  • Doesn't do any one thing particularly well
  • Career ceiling as 4th line center

Jeremy Morin (he's so young he doesn't even get a fancy info box like everyone else. Deal with it, rook)

Pros

  • Differentiated himself by showing a nose for the net
  • Plays with the high motor of a white defensive lineman
  • Has shown chemistry with one Patrick Kane

Cons

  • Is 19 years old, may get pushed around once the adults give a shit
  • Might not receive the necessary playing time to develop as a scoring winger
  • Relatively high cap hit among the forwards who remain


Viktor Stalberg

#25 / Left Wing / Chicago Blackhawks

6-3

210

Jan 17, 1986


Pros

  • Large projectable frame and lightning quick
  • Has shown flashes of the ability to be a productive top-6 forward
  • Devastatingly handsome (wait, what?)

Cons

  • Already has shown a propensity to float
  • Has not yet found a rapport with myriad linemates
  • Skill set may not be fitting of fourth line duties (TomoKop: Revisited)


Ryan Potulny

#16 / Center / Chicago Blackhawks

6-0

190

Sep 05, 1984


Pros

  • Has the ability to play center
  • Possesses a decent set of hands and has scored goals at every level - even on a dogshit Oilers team last year

Cons

  • Is god-awful at the faceoff dot
  • Did not distinguish himself in the least throughout the pre-season

So there you have it. From my perspective (if you couldn't already tell), the odd man out is Ryan Potulny. Further aiding things is that Potulny is on a two-way contract, so he will not have to clear waivers to get his Beef-A-Roo on. But with Skille's injury situation putting his playing status up in the air, the ability for the Hawks to send Jeremy Morin back to junior before his 10th game here, and Fernando Pisani's inability to stay healthy for more than six seconds, Potulny shouldn't be buying any property along the Rock River just yet.

Word should come down if not today, then tomorrow regarding how the roster will look for Thursday, and Sam will be a little later to let you know just what we have in store for Thursday night as well.