Blackhawks rookies ready for NHL spotlight
by Scott King
With a slew of slots open in the preseason, six Blackhawks rookies emerged from training camp that will suit up for the Hawks’ season opener on Wednesday night at the United Center. When they take on the Blues, big league first-timers like Tyler Motte and Gustav Forsling will be trying to contribute, while sticking to their game.
Leaving the University of Michigan early seemed to be a wise decision for 21-year-old forward Tyler Motte.
“Obviously it was my goal, [to make the team]” Motte said. “I just came in and worked hard every day, tried to get better as we went on here. It’s still my goal as the season starts to get better every day.”
Motte’s dependable two-way play helped snag him a roster spot.
“I try to play a responsible 200-foot game, be a complete player, worry about the defensive zone first,” Motte said. “I’ll make sure I have the system down and everything, and I’ll let the game come to me.”
Several of the Hawks young prospects trying to make the team found solace in banding together.
“I think the young group has kind of been going through the same thing here,” Motte said. “Together we knew probably a couple of us were going down, but you kind of stick together, you root for each other, you don’t want to see anybody go, but it’s that time of year.
“The veteran group has done a great job of embracing us, welcoming us on and off the ice. You go out and there’s some different line combinations every day. I’ll always have a guy come up and grab me and say, ‘Just play your game, work hard and just try to make plays.’ You don’t really try to worry about it too much when you get out there. So it’s been nice for them to kind of embrace us like that and welcome us on and off the ice.”
Along with Motte, forwards Vinnie Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman will slide into the Hawks’ third and fourth lines.
Swedish defenseman Gustav Forsling, and his crisp tape-to-tape passes, was one of the biggest standouts during the preseason.
“It feels very good,” said Forsling after the final cuts were made. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I was just trying to play my game, it works pretty [well] back in Sweden, I didn’t know if it would work here. I wasn’t sure if I was this good, but it felt pretty good from the start [of camp].
“I want to be similar to Duncan Keith. I think his game is who I want to be, how I want to play. Even Seabrook, those guys.”
Michal Kempny (26 years old) is the other NHL newcomer on defense expected to play Wednesday. Kempy played in the World Cup for the Czech Republic.
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