From Gold Medal to AHL All-Star: Ethan Del Mastro Could Be a Big Part of the Blackhawks' Rebuild

Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Profile: Ethan Del Mastro

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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What is Del Mastro's NHL Timeline?

Ethan Del Mastro looks like a possible steal as a mid-round pick given how he's progressed since his draft year that never came to be. After being a major piece in the Sarnia Sting's (OHL) playoff run in 2023, to being a reliable defender for Team Canada and now playing top minutes as an AHL All-Star, Del Mastro has been up to every task he's been given. But how soon can Blackhawks fans see him in a red sweater at the United Center?

The Rockford IceHogs are currently riding a three game winning streak as they make a push for the AHL playoffs, so it is unlikely Del Mastro will receive his first call-up this season. But the chance of him getting his first games next season looks increasingly possible. Playing as poised as he does at the professional level so early on is a great sign for Del Mastro's ability to adapt to a faster and heavier game. The Blackhawks new regime also likes to take their time with developing young defenseman by allowing them to play important roles in Rockford before making the jump to the NHL, Alex Vlasic was given this treatment last year and this year is Wyatt Kaiser and Ethan Del Mastro's turn.

Del Mastro feels like he could make the jump to being NHL-ready by training camp next year, but likely will play another season in Rockford while periodically being called up to the Blackhawks. There is going to be more talent on the IceHogs roster next season and having another year playing top-pair can help to refine Del Mastro's game so he is truly ready for that next step when the time comes.

Ethan Del Mastro's NHL potential could be that of a solid second-pair defenseman and top penalty killer. His poise, skating and well-rounded game mixed in with his ability to play both sides gives him a fighting chance of playing valuable minutes in the NHL. Initially his ceiling would have been a third-pair defenseman, but his rising to every occasion might give him that much more of a chance at being on a second-pair. There are not many prospects like Del Mastro in the Blackhawks system, but they surely will be patient with his development to allow him to reach his potential.