Three Players That Should Make The Blackhawks Roster

The Chicago Blackhawks start the defense of their Stanley Cup on Oct. 1 against the Washington Capitals. Recently, the team made some cuts to get the roster closer to the desired number of players the team will take into the season. A lot of the players who won’t make the team will either be sent to Rockford or to their respective junior league teams to get more seasoning.

Here are three players I believe will make the team out of camp. These are players who have done all they could do in Rockford. Now,  these players deserve a chance to make the team. During training camp and the preseason games these players have shown that they belong.

Jimmy Hayes

With Bryan Bickell’s postseason emergence, Hayes can move into Bickell’s spot on the checking line. He might even become the team’s defacto enforcer. Coach Joel Quenneville said this to the Chicago Tribune about Hayes’ chances to make the team:

"He put a really strong emphasis on putting himself in a different position as far as his conditioning, his strength, his quickness and he looks like that on the ice. Jimmy has that big body, he does a lot of good things, he has a good thought process and (he's) strong on the puck. You put yourself in better shape (and) everything is quicker and easy for you."

Brandon Pirri

Pirri is one of the players who has done everything possible in Rockford.  Pirri led the AHL in scoring last season. Now is the time for him to show what he can do with the big club. Of the three, I think he has the best shot of being on the team. Coach Quenneville said this to the Chicago Sun-Times about Pirri:

‘‘I thought he had more speed than I previously saw. It was nice to see him fit in there. His overall game looked like it was more complete, but the thing [that was] most noticeable was his quickness.’’

Ben Smith

Smith originally was up with the team during the 2010-2011 season. He scored goals to help to the Blackhawks push the Vancouver Canucks to seven games. Since then, he has battled through injuries. During training camp at Notre Dame, he got into a fight with Duncan Keith. That shows that Smith is willing and able to mix it up in his pursuit of a roster spot.

Comcast SportsNet’s Tracey Myers recently spoke with Smith about his prospects:

“I’m 25 years old now. I’ve grown a lot as a player and a person the last three years. That gives me more motivation,” said Smith. “It’s time to make this happen, come to work every day toward that goal.”

The aforementioned players will take the place of players who have moved on. The new normal in the NHL hit the Blackhawks pretty hard after the Stanley Cup win back in '10. Since then, general manager Stan Bowman rebuilt the core players around the star players. Rebuilding on the fly led to another Stanley Cup last season. Now  it’s up to Hayes, Pirri and Smith to help the team add on to their recent postseason glory.

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