Undrafted, unsigned Alexandre Fortin the breakout star at camp
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Most of the players at prospect camp this week are here to impress the Blackhawks brass and move up the organizational depth chart. Alexandre Fortin is here for a contract.
Fortin, an undrafted, unaffiliated invitee and the nephew of former NHL goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, has been the breakout star of camp, scoring five goals in three scrimmages. He also added a primary assist on Wednesday.
“I came here just to prove myself,” Fortin said. “That’s my dream since I was young, to play in the top league. So I came here with a goal. I want to leave here [with] a contract, for sure.”
Fortin, a 19-year-old center, had 19 goals and 24 assists in 54 games in the QMJHL this past season, but was plagued by a hip injury and confidence issues. He’s had no such issues at camp.
“I know what I’m capable of,” he said.
Coming up big
For goalies in the modern NHL, being big is huge. It’s one reason why 6-6 Scott Darling ultimately beat out 6-foot Antti Raanta for the Hawks’ backup goalie job. and it’s one reason why the Hawks drafted Belgian goalie Wouter Peeters in the third round of last month’s draft. Peeters is 6-5. And because he’s just 17 years old — the youngest player at camp this week — he hopes he’ll get even taller.
“I hope so,” he said. “It’s never enough.”
Peeters is just the second Belgian ever drafted — the first went two slots ahead of him. He’ll go back to playing in Sweden this season, but will be worth keeping an eye on, as the Hawks are thin in goal behind Corey Crawford and Darling.
As for being the youngest guy, that’s nothing new for Peeters.
“I’m used to it,” he said. “I’ve worked with older guys since last year. It’s not a big difference for me. They’re really good, really skilled. I like it. It gives me a boost to get to the next level.”
The Hawks have gravitated toward college hockey players in recent drafts, and have three players at camp from Nebraska-Omaha, of all places — 2014 fourth-rounder Freddy Olofsson, 2014 fifth-rounder Luc Snuggerud, and camp invitee Jake Randolph. The Mavericks have reached the NCAA Tournament three times since the program started in 1997.
“It’s getting pretty big out there,” Olofsson said. “When you think Nebraska-Omaha, you don’t think too much hockey, but we’re on the rise. We actually just got brand-new, pro-type facilities, too. It’s sold out each night.”