After a very short summer, the Blackhawks are getting ready for a new season. To kick off the preseason, the Hawks are sending a team of rookies to compete in the 2010 Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament, this weekend at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. Blackhawks prospects, featuring three first-round draft picks and nine players selected in the first two rounds of the National Hockey League Entry Draft, will compete in three games against rookie teams from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Featured Hawks rookies include 2008 first-round pick Kyle Beach, who led the Western Hockey League with 52 goals last season, defenseman Shawn Lalonde, who gained a career high 56 points with the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls, Jeremy Morin, who racked up 47 goals for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers and won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships last year, and recent signees Nick Leddy and Brandon Pirri, as well as Chris DiDomenico and Phillipe Paradis, who were acquired from Toronto this summer.
While the rookies have been focused on this weekend’s tournament and the rest of the team starts to focus on preseason play, the Hawks signed Ryan Potulny (pronounced poh-TUHL-nee) to a one-year contract. The 26-year-old center from Grand Forks, North Dakota, shared third place on the Edmonton Oilers with a career high 15 goals and ranked sixth with a career best 32 points in 64 regular-season games last season. Potulny also appeared in 14 games with the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons last year, collecting eight points (3G, 5A) and eight penalty minutes.
Potulny has played In 116 career NHL games over parts of the last five seasons,with the Philadelphia Flyers (2005-08) and Edmonton Oilers (2008-10). He was Philadelphia’s sixth draft choice, 87th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
His claim to fame is that he ended the longest contest in the 74-year history of the AHL when he scored a goal at the 2:58 mark of the fifth overtime in Game 4 of the East Division Semifinal on April 24, 2008, as a member of the Phantoms.
Get your skates sharpened. Hockey is about to begin.