This week’s Chicago Blackhawks roundtable focused on which old defenseman would return and the most exciting Blackhawks prospects heading into offseason camps.
On the latter item, there were votes for Alex DeBrincat and John Hayden. Both seem like wise choices and very intriguing prospects, but I am going to another direction. My prospect to watch is Anthony Louis.
Louis does not have as much fanfare as DeBrincat and Hayden do, but he should not be overlooked.
As I stated before previous posts, I was very impressed with both Louis and Hayden at last year’s prospect camp. Louis fits the mold of the Patrick Kane/Artemi Panarin-type forward. He is a smaller forward listed at 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds. He is very fast with skill.
Scouting report and more
Hockey’s Future had this to say about Louis:
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"Louis is a diminutive forward who continues to defy critics. He has a high level of skill and creativity with the puck and has been a productive player at every level he has played. He can use his speed to skate past defenders or make a quick move with the puck to gain position."
I distinctly remember how well he passed at Prospect Camp in 2016. Despite his smaller size, he was also very strong on the puck, shielding off larger players.
After signing his two-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks, he reported to the Rockford IceHogs on a professional tryout contract. In his first game with the IceHogs, he scored the game-winning goal in a shootout.
He would finish with two points in 13 games with the IceHogs. That was following an NCAA season in which he set career highs in goals (14), assists (25) and points (39).
Scoring that goal in his first AHL game shows me that Louis has skill, poise and does not back down from the moment. He might be a smaller guy in size, but he plays bigger than he is.
The Blackhawks recently have gotten away from two things that made them great in recent seasons. Those items were puck possession and speed. I am not sure on what type of puck possession player Louis is or if he can be a good one, but I do know he does have some speed.
The Blackhawks were slow compared to the faster Nashville Predators on offense and defense in a first-round playoff loss. Louis will help putting pressure on opposing defenses with his speed.
With the Blackhawks having several forward prospects, Louis might spend the first part of next season in Rockford. Once the Blackhawks need a jolt due to injury or a scoring drought, I expect Louis to be the first call-up.