Alex Vlasic is having an amazing first full NHL season.
The defenseman would be in the running for the Calder Trophy if he was eligible. He has been outstanding this season on the blue line.
The big defenseman is becoming a shutdown defender right before our very eyes. His defensive ratings are what you are looking for in terms of a blue-liner who is dedicated to stopping the opposing offense.
Outside of Bedard, he is the one young player on the roster that everyone loves to sing his praises.
Vlasic does need to work on his offensive game, but that will come with time. What is good is that Kevin Korchinski and Vlasic have emerged as long-term building blocks for the blue line. Now all the Hawks need to do is secure him to a lengthy deal.
Petr Mrazek's play in goal.
Next to Bedard, no player has been more valuable to the Blackhawks than Mrazek. Arvid Soderblom was expected to have taken the No. 1 goaltender job from Mrazek, but so far, he has failed.
Mrazek has avoided his traditional stop on injured reserve and he has taken advantage of Soderblom's struggles to earn a two-year contract extension.
Petr's numbers are not flashy, but what he has done well all season is make sure to get the saves that keep the game from getting out of hand--something Soderblom has failed to do.
Keeping Mrazek around for the near future means the Blackhawks lose a trade piece that could fetch a nice return at the deadline. At the same time, it serves as a bridge until Drew Commesso is ready for the NHL game. That is probably more valuable.