After his first campaign with Rouyn-Noranda in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2014-15, Fortin went undrafted in the NHL draft for the first time. Following his second year with Rouyn-Noranda last season, Fortin yet again went undrafted. In his two seasons in the QMJHL, Fortin has skated in 121 games for Rouyn-Noranda, scoring 83 points (30 Goals, 53 Assists) and helping the Huskies to last year’s QMJHL Championship.
Fortin on the #Blackhawks: “It’s the first team that really believed in me.”
It’s clear that the Blackhawks did not want to let Fortin go from the summer he has put together and head back to the QMJHL this season without a contract and head into next summer’s NHL Entry Draft for the third time.
Given his performance with Chicago and building upon his first two seasons with Rouyn-Noranda, it’s almost a guarantee that Fortin wouldn’t have landed back with the Blackhawks in the Draft.
Blackhawks Hoping To Capitalize On Another Free Agency Find
After the success of Artemi Panarin last year, the Blackhawks are starting to find a way to discover untapped potential in players and make the most of jumping on opportunities to get those players into the organization.
“It’s a little of the Blackhawks way,” Hawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen said. “Panarin was on people’s radar in the hockey world and certainly in Russia, but to bring in a player like that last year and you see it, (in) different sports you draft players at such different ages and for us, the development curve is really steep for these kids. They’re 18 years old, they’re getting picked on a lot of their potential. Sometimes it takes a player a little longer to develop. (Fortin) certainly had a good showing here and I would expect, with his character, that he’ll continue to do that.”
It’s clear the Blackhawks believe in Fortin’s talent and potential. His contract dictates that if he doesn’t make the Blackhawks opening roster, which is highly unlikely, he’ll return to the QMJHL since he is not eligible to play in the AHL.
The Fortin signing gives the Blackhawks another young talent at the forward position that shows a ton of upside, and makes for certain that they, along with the rest of the league, wouldn’t get another chance miss out on him in the Draft.