Despite being passed over at the 2016 NHL draft, Canadian winger Alexandre Fortin made the most of a free agent invitation to the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp and was awarded an entry-level contract by the end of training camp. He played in five preseason games and was one of the final cuts before the Hawks’ finalized their opening night roster.
Birth date: Feb. 25, 1997
Acquired via: Undrafted free agent
Most recent stop: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Size: 6’0, 175 pounds
Contract: Signed through 2018-19 with a $706,666 salary cap hit
Fortin earned his contract with the Hawks with a breakout performance at the team’s prospect camp by scoring five goals in the first three scrimmages. He then posted two goals and an assist in five preseason games. But he was cut and returned to his junior team - Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - for the 2016-17 season.
Following his surprising rise with the Hawks, Fortin scored 22 goals with 30 assists in 52 games with Rouyn-Noranda. Fortin’s 52 points were a career-high in his third season with the Huskies. It’s an impressive season for the 20-year-old, but even more so considering he dealt with a sports-hernia injury that required surgery after the season.
Fortin helped lead the Huskies to a West Division title and second-best record in the league. In the postseason, his career-high 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) ranked second on the team in seven games.
The forward didn’t get a chance to show his improvements at this year’s prospect camp as he was still recovering from surgery.
What’s next in 2017-18?
Fortin will likely be in the same position as last year by fighting for a bottom-six forward spot at the Hawks’ training camp. If he doesn’t achieve that he’ll start with the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League.
“Last year, I came here looking for the contract,” Fortin told Mark Lazerus of The Chicago Sun Times. “Now I’ll be here [to] make the team, and hopefully as soon as possible.”
Fortin will have plenty of competition from offseason acquisitions Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingles as well as players like John Hayden, Vinnie Hinostroza, Tomas Jurco, Tanner Kero and Jordin Tootoo, who all saw time with the Hawks last season.