The Traverse City prospect tournament is just around the corner and the Chicago Blackhawks’ future will be on full display.
The performances at the tournament will lead into training camp and could help some of these youngsters earn a roster spot. For others, it’s simply a showcase of their potential down the line. Here are the top prospects and storylines you should follow.
5. Alexis Gravel
Alexis Gravel is the best goalie prospect the Chicago Blackhawks are sending to Traverse City. He has pretty much no chance of seeing time in the NHL this season, barring some incredible set of circumstances.
With that being said, Gravel had an incredible season for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL that culminated in him being named the CHL Memorial Cup Most Outstanding Goaltender.
Here’s a look at some of his work:
Gravel could end up being a very important piece of the Blackhawks’ franchise down the line and monitoring his progress at the prospect tournament should be intriguing.
4. Brandon Hagel
After four seasons in the WHL, Brandon Hagel finally turned pro after the 2018-19 season, when he played eight games for the Rockford IceHogs. Before heading to the AHL, Hagel posted 102 points (41G, 61A) with an impressive 42 ± rating in 66 games for the Red Deer Rebels.
In all likelihood, Hagel is headed to Rockford in the upcoming season. Making a good impression at Traverse City, before a strong training camp, could put Hagel in the NHL this season. Hagel was drafted in 2016 and has been improving with every season; this could be a big year for him, in the NHL or elsewhere. Here’s a Hagel highlight reel which showcases his NHL level shot and great playmaking skills:
3. Philipp Kurashev
As with Hagel, Philipp Kurashev is likely to start in Rockford. Still, after an impressive season internationally and in the QMJHL, Kurashev has an outside shot to see NHL time this season.
The young, offensively gifted Swiss center led the 2019 IIHF World Juniors tournament in goal scoring, and a few months later, he impressed again at the IIHF Men’s World Championships.
If you want to see it for yourself though, check this out:
It’s not just high-end skill that Kurashev brings either. Watch him get rewarded after some hard work:
With impressive showings at Traverse City and training camp, Kurashev could give himself a chance at cracking the NHL roster in 2019-20. Even if he doesn’t, he should be exciting to watch against other good prospects like he was in the World Juniors.
2. Kirby Dach
No doubt the Chicago Blackhawks and its fan base are excited to check out their new toy. Not all ‘Hawks’ fans were united in the selection of Kirby Dach with the third overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
However, now that the draft is over, Dach should offer intrigue to everyone. It would certainly be fun if Dach makes the NHL out of training camp, but even if he doesn’t, watching him at Traverse City should be a treat. Last we saw him on the ice, he was working over fellow prospects in Blackhawks’ development camp with plays like this:
1. Adam Boqvist
Two years ago, one year removed from being drafted, Alex DeBrincat showed up and dominated Traverse City. He carried that momentum into training camp, where he eventually made the NHL roster and went on to lead the Blackhawks in goals in his rookie season.
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If any of Chicago’s prospects have a chance to replicate the rise of DeBrincat, it sure looks like it will be Adam Boqvist.
Boqvist looks like a perfect fit in Head Coach Jeremy Colliton‘s man-to-man defensive scheme. He will be able to force turnovers and generate offense off the rush from it.
After an electrifying first season on North American ice, in which he scored the second-most goals among defensemen in the OHL, Boqvist looks primed to make the jump to the NHL.
The only defenseman that had more goals in the OHL than Boqvist was two years older and played in 10 more games.
In the playoffs, Boqvist scored 10 goals in 11 games and added three assists. Then, he came out and dominated the Blackhawks’ development camp earlier this summer:
Oh, and he was pretty good at the World Juniors too:
This is Boqvist’s chance to make a great impression and generate some momentum for himself heading into training camp. He looks like he’s in a great spot to dominate in Traverse City.