The Chicago Blackhawks and forward Alexandre Fortin are discussion a potential contract, his agent Philippe Sauve tells Scott Powers of The Athletic. Fortin was a breakout star at the Hawks' prospect camp last week, recording five goals in three scrimmages alongside the team's top prospects.
Fortin is eligible to sign an NHL contract despite being only 19 years old because of a loophole in the NHL's draft eligibility rules. The Canadian has already played a year in major juniors and gone undrafted, so he's free to sign an entry-level contract with an NHL team as long as it happens prior to the start of the upcoming major junior season. The two sides could also extend that deadline to the beginning of the NHL season by inking a professional tryout contract.
If Fortin doesn't sign a contract or PTO by Sept. 22 -- the first day of the major junior season -- he'll be required to re-enter the 2017 NHL Draft.
Sauve told Powers the Hawks have decided to bring Fortin to the Hawks' rookie tournament, which is Sept. 16-20 in Traverse City, Mich., for "another opportunity to prove himself."
"I think it's a good fit," Sauve said. "I was in conversation throughout the year with [Blackhawks amateur scout] Alexandre Rouleau. He got to see him quite a bit. With the opportunity to bring him into the camp, he said [Fortin] fit the team philosophy, which I thought was a good point. They're all about puck possession and skill. Their recipe has been pretty good in recent years. I think it's a good fit."
Given that Sept. 22 deadline to sign a deal, the rookie tournament will likely be Fortin's final chance to make a push for a contract. The Hawks have no shortage of intriguing young forwards already in Rockford, but Fortin could be an intriguing low-risk flier. He had 19 goals and 24 assist in 54 games last season for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL last season.