A presumed top 10 pick in the 2022 draft, Frank Nazar III eventually went #13 to the Chicago Blackhawks (acquired via the Kirby Dach trade). The plan was for Nazar to attend the University of Michigan and be apart of a daunted top 6 group of forwards that included Adam Fantilli. Unfortunately, things didn't quite pan out that way as a nagging hip injury made the young forward elect to undergo surgery to help the injury heal.
Nazar did eventually return to see action for the Wolverines towards the end of their season and their run in the NCAA tournament. As expected, the skilled forward wasn't 100% back to his game that is predicated on speed and quick decisions. Frank Nazar put up 7 points in 13 contests during the end of the 22-23 compaign for Michigan. Adam Fantilli would eventually be drafted #3 overall and make the Blue Jackets roster out of camp.
That's not to say that the Wolverines wouldn't again return a loaded roster with 10 drafted skaters though. Where would Nazar fit in and more importantly would he get back to his old self in terms of his skill traits on the ice?
A big time goal scorer in his time with the NTDP, 58 goals in 103 games, Nazar has relied on his skating and speed to get into prime position to get these opportunities. So far this season it appears that Nazar has regained that edge in play as the Sophmore (20 years old on January 14th) is at a point per game (18 points in 18 games with 8 goals) and is playing at a faster pace than when he came back at the end of last season.
As you can see from the below video of when the Blackhawks selected Nazar (and subsequently many insights into the Nazar family since via the Blackhawks) it looks to be a very supportive family that surrounds the young prospect. I believe that it is this type of determination from a group effort that will lift Nazar into true discussion amongst the "is he ready" crowd during the World Juniors this week.
Nazar (along with Blackhawks prospects Oliver Moore #11, Sam Rinzel #8, and Gavin Hayes #27) will wear #91 (as he does at Michigan) for team USA as the Americans try to take home gold for the first time in 3 years (Canada has won 3/4 years). Nazar will play a big part (as will Wolverine teammates Brindley and McGroarty) in any success that USA might have in the highly competitve event.
More to the point though, it will give Blackhawks fans a true look at all 6 prospects, but in particular Nazar as he will be a focal point in any offensive play driving. The Americans have a stacked roster and two experienced netminders and will likely be the favorites (along with Canada) to win gold. It should be a great week of hockey (both for Blackhawks fans, but also to see draft eligibles like Macklin Celebrini) and one where Frank Nazar should show he is fully healthy.