It's not too early to start getting excited about the 2017-2018 Rockford IceHogs.

It's no secret that the Rockford IceHogs had a disappointing season last year. Salary cap problems with the Chicago Blackhawks forced several of the top prospects scheduled to play in Rockford to Chicago.

The Chicago Blackhawks had a surprisingly good regular season. Unfortunately, it was followed by a major disappointed in the playoffs. They were knocked out in the first round.

Stan Bowman, General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, promised big changes during the offseason in Rockford and Chicago. He wasn't lying. Coaches were fired. Fan favorite players were traded. New players were brought in by free agency and the draft. Both teams are going to look a lot different this upcoming season.

The NHL Draft was held in Chicago this year. I attended day two. While I was there, I ran into Mark Bernard. He is the Senior Director, Minor League Affiliations for the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs. He told me, "The IceHogs are going to be young and exciting this season."

The schedule was the 2017-2018 Rockford IceHogs was released this week. Here are some of the highlights.

  • "Season opener vs Cleveland Monsters on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m."
  • "Home opener vs Iowa Wild on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m."
  • "New 6 p.m. start time on Saturday nights."
  • "Three new opponents including Hershey Bears, Bakersfield Condors, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins."

The Chicago Blackhawks have also released their schedule.

What's the 2017 Rockford IceHogs roster going to look like? Secondcityhockey.com gave a sneak preview of what their line-up might look like.

2017-18 IceHogs projected lineup from Secondcityhockey.com

Position IceHogs
F1 Alex DeBrincat - Laurent Dauphin - Vinnie Hinostroza
F2 David Kampf - Matthew Highmore - John Hayden
F3 Alexandre Fortin - Nathan Noel - Matheson Iacopelli
F4 Anthony Louis - Luke Johnson - Kyle Baun
D1 Carl Dahlstrom - Jan Rutta
D2 Luc Snuggerud - Jordan Oesterle
D3 Viktor Svedberg - Darren Raddysh
Goaltender Jean-Francois Berube - Jeff Glass
Bench Graham Knott, Tommy Olczek, William Pelletier, Robin Press, Robin Norell, Matt Tomkins

As you can see, lots of new faces. Of course, it all depends on who ends up playing in Chicago. No matter what, there will be a lot of Blackhawks prospects once again playing in Rockford.

There is a good sneak preview next week at Prospect Camp of who might be in Rockford next season.

If the Cubs keep struggling, it never hurts to get excited about hockey in Rockford. It's one of the great things we have in our town


 

Video: How Well do Rockford IceHogs Know Classic Rock?

Video: How well do IceHogs Know Classic Rock, Part II