ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Going into every IceHogs’ season it’s always fun to project which young newcomers might emerge as core IceHogs and perhaps as future NHL players. This year rookie center Ryan Gagnier might be one candidate for those things.

We haven’t seen yet what 21-year-old Ryan Gagnier can do, but they are well aware of his skills in the Ontario Hockey League. Last season with the Oshawa Generals he led the team in scoring with 69 points in 66 games.

“I was able to spend a great four years in Oshawa and this previous year, my overage year, I think I really just found my stride in my offensive game. I had to step up and really take over offensively, and I gained a new level of confidence in that process.”

Gagnier is more than a scorer. He was also second in voting for the OHL’s best defensive forward in the Eastern Conference and voted second for the best penalty killer. He was also named the conference’s hardest worker by the league’s coaches. Gagnier seems to check all the boxes.

So, are we getting a well-rounded Ryan Gagnier here?

“Yea, I hope so,” said Gagnier. “The only thing I can say is I’m going to do everything I can every time I’m on the ice and be a very reliable player when I’m out there.”

Gagnier caught the eye of IceHogs’ head coach Anders Sorensen during the Blackhawks’ prospect camp and at the Prospect Showcase in Minnesota.

“He’s competitive. He likes to play in traffic. He likes to make contact. I really like what I’ve seen so far. I thought the game up in Minnesota there too, I thought he did some really good things.”

So how much might Gagnier contribute as a rookie for the IceHogs, and what sort of timetable has he put himself on for perhaps getting an NHL shot?

“You know, the only thing I can really focus on is the work I put in and what I produce. Obviously, the goal is to make it to the NHL or sign an NHL contract, so that’s what my goal has been and always will be until I get to that point. So, I’m just going to do everything I can to get there.”