The NHL playoffs have started with a bang! A triple OT thriller between the Penguins and the Rangers? Toronto blowing out the Lightning 5-0!? Too bad the Blackhawks aren't involved this year. It's actually for the best since Chicago was pretty terrible. As bad as the regular season was, the postseason would only have shined a spotlight on the Blackhawks' shortcomings. However, if Rockford is anything to go by, then the future will be different in the coming years.
A couple of stories popped up over the last few weeks that surrounded the Rockford IceHogs. Both Lukas Reichel, and Alec Regula were reassigned to Rockford. Additionally, prospects Nolan Allen and Colton Dach (Kirby's younger brother) have also joined the IceHogs in time to take on the Texas Stars, Dallas' AHL affiliate. The addition of those four players may, or may not have an impact on the team, but those are important moves anyway.
It's clear that Chicago wants their prospects to get as much experience as possible, and a playoff run, especially a deep one, would likely be good for all the young players. As bad as Chicago was defensively, Rockford may be a tough out against the Stars because of their blueliners. There are multiple highly regarded young players that are going to acquire some important playoff experience.
It's not clear what the pairings will be, but out of the ten players listed on Rockford's roster for defensemen, seven different players have dressed for the Blackhawks over the last two years, and six of those seven are 23 and under. What's more, according to CapFriendly, all six of those players are under contract beyond 2021-22.
- Ian Mitchell, 23
- Isaak Phillips, 20
- Nolan Allan, 19
- Nicolas Beaudin, 22
- Alec Regula, 21
- Jakub Galvas, 22
This is a promising development for Chicago, a team that looked absolutely lost on their own end this year. If all of this wasn't enough, prospect Louis Crevier will be in the playoffs with his team, the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. These teams might not have any success, but this is a lot of very significant experience and ice time for these players.
If none of the other NHL teams currently battling things out excites you, try checking out some of Chicago's prospects. They may have a chance at winning some hardware. The Icehogs face off against the Stars on Wednesday, May 4th (today), and Quebec starts on May 5 against Chicoutimi.