Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Mailbag: Colliton, Prospects, and More

By Juliana Nikac
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks gives instructions to his team against the Ottawa Senators at the United Center on February 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Senators 8-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks gives instructions to his team against the Ottawa Senators at the United Center on February 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Senators 8-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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MONTREAL, QC – MARCH 16:Look on Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) during the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Montreal Canadiens game on March 16, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC – MARCH 16:Look on Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) during the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Montreal Canadiens game on March 16, 2019, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

If they become officially out of the playoff race, will they bring up prospects for next year? – Blackhawks Fan Joe (@chiguy8506)

I can’t see them bringing up anyone from Rockford in a push for the playoffs. The Chicago Blackhawks have made it pretty clear that they don’t want Jokiharju in the NHL for the rest of the season.

The IceHogs are having a playoff push of their own right now and I’m sure the front office doesn’t want to interrupt that, either. So, we’ll have to wait until the development and training camps to see some of the guys from Rockford.

Do the Blackhawks plan on signing and playing any college kids down the stretch? – Kevin Allen Caby (@TheNinjaKevin)

I have no knowledge of their plans, but I’d be happy to see them sign a few college players. The NCAA is churning out serious hockey talent and I feel like no one is noticing. We also don’t know which drafted players graduating from the NCAA will head to free agency either. So, the crop is small right now but as someone who watches a ton of college hockey, I have one name on my mind that I’d like the see the Chicago Blackhawks sign.

Nico Sturm from Clarkson University is a fantastic two-way center. He’s exceptional at faceoffs, and that’s something that the Blackhawks are terrible at (outside of Jonathan Toews). The 23-year-old German native has earned the title of ECAC Hockey’s Best Defensive Forward two years in a row. He was also recently named to ECAC’s First-Team All-League. In 115 games with Clarkson, he recorded 101 points (36 G, 65 A).

I might write a post about the top NCAA free agents once the college hockey season is actually over, but there are a lot of guys that have a chance at being good players in the NHL.

Will Brandon Saad be traded this summer? – Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)

Probably not. I can’t see the front office trading a guy they just re-acquired two seasons ago and gave up their second-best winger to do so.

Brandon Saad is also having a good season. He’s already surpassed his totals from last season in goals, assists, and points. A 46 point pace isn’t half bad, either. It’s quite the improvement from last year when everyone wanted him gone.

I don’t see him ever producing like Toews or DeBrincat, as he’s 26 years old now and he’s not going to develop anymore. But he hit 53 points the two seasons he spent with the Columbus Blue Jackets and there’s reason to believe he can most likely do that again.

I think he’s back to playing like the old Saad, too. That is: being effective with his speed to defend and create shorthanded chances, finding space in the high-danger area to score goals, and forechecking like crazy.

The Chicago Blackhawks can’t afford to lose any of the big offensive talent they have, especially since they don’t have much in their prospect pool right now and it’s one of the few things they have going well for them.

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