Despite their rough stretch at the end of the January, the Blackhawks are still looking down at 28 other NHL teams in the standings. Only the Anaheim Ducks have a better record than the Hawks.
The Blackhawks, coming off their second Stanley Cup victory in four years, are getting it done with a relatively young core. The current Blackhawks roster has an average age of 28.1. But what makes that number even scarier for the rest of the league is that the Hawks have a pipeline of promising young players, mainly forwards, in their system.
While youngsters' Brandon Saad (21), Andrew Shaw (22) and Brandon Pirri (22) continue to provide a spark to the main roster, a slew of players have put their names on the map with impressive seasons at the minor-league, collegiate, International and junior levels.
One prospect, who's been overlooked in the last few years, has raised his game to new heights during the last month. Kevin Hayes, who was a first-round pick by the Blackhawks in 2010, has been on a scoring tear at Boston College. The 6-foot-3 forward is in the midst of 12-game scoring streak. The 21-year-old Hayes has 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists) in 26 games this season. He's third in the NCAA in points per game with 1.80.
Another prospect drawing rave reviews is Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen. The 5-foot-10 center has 31 points in 35 games with Jokerit Helsinki in the SM-liiga this season. Teravainen impressed the Blackhawks' brass in preseason and could be a candidate to break camp with the team during the 2014-15 season.
Last year's first-round pick and Chicagoland native Ryan Hartman has been solid in his second season with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. The 19-year-old winger has 30 points in 34 games during the 2013-14 campaign.
Another overlooked prospect, who's spent parts of the last four seasons with the Blackhawks is Jeremy Morin. He has registered 24 points in 31 games with the Rockford IceHogs and he also scored one goal to go along with four assists in 15 games with the Hawks this season.
The current points leader for the IceHogs is defenseman Adam Clendening. In 45 games, he has six goals and 27 assists for a plus-two rating. The New York native was selected 36th overall by the Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Some other notable prospects for the Blackhawks include forwards Drew LeBlanc (24), Mark McNeill (20), Alex Broadhurst (20), Maxim Shalunov (21), and defensemen Stephen Johns (21) and Klas Dahlbeck (22).
Which Blackhawks prospect are you looking forward to making their NHL debut?