As we await the results of the latest talks in the NHL CBA negotiations, all eyes for fans of the Chicago Blackhawks remain on the Rockford Icehogs. There are plenty of young players that are worth keeping an eye on, but few bring the intrigue that Kyle Beach does.
Beach has been one of the more frustrating prospects in the organization the past few seasons for the Blackhawks. He has failed to put it all together mentally, with his 2011-2012 season basically a wash because of a shoulder injury that kept him out for the majority of the year.
The 6’3″, 210 pound forward is exactly the type of player the Hawks could use on their current roster. He’s a big, physical player who also has the tools to be successful in the offensive end. But he’s never quite had his head on straight, and that has held him back since he was drafted almost five years ago.
We know Beach has the skill set to be a very successful player. He’s put up some incredible offensive numbers, particularly in the WHL. His 2009-2010 season with Spokane was particularly impressive, as he finished with 86 points. He followed that up with a decent 36-point campaign in his first year with Rockford in 2010-2011.
The big knock on Beach has always been his lack of composure and headiness. His penalty minutes have been an issue at every level. Until that changes, it’s unlikely he’ll ever reach the highest level as a member of the Blackhawks. Though they remain an issue, he appears to have sorted them out at least a bit, with only 14 in eight games this season.
In 19 games with Rockford, before and after his injury, Beach had 10 points in 2011-12. He’s off to a strong start this year, with six points in eight games for the Icehogs. He was named the AHL Player of the Week at the turn of October. Is this a sign of Kyle Beach finally putting it all together?
We’re going to have to see quite a bit more of this from Beach before any of it can be taken seriously. But with a few more weeks before an NHL season could potentially begin, Beach should start considering this stretch as his audition. With a few spots up for grabs, and a need for some skilled, physical talent up front, we could finally see Beach in Chicago in the very near future.