It's no secret that Kyle Davidson and Co. have been building up a bright future in Chicago. Over the last two years, the Blackhawks have made five first round selections in the NHL Draft.
Two of them in forward Oliver Moore (19th overall in 2023) and defenseman Sam Rinzel (25th overall in 2022) are in a unique situation as the pair are set to begin their collegiate careers together at the University of Minnesota this year.
Both are local Minnesota prospects and took the opportunity to play with a historically rich Golden Gophers program where they will work on their development before making their way to the Blackhawks organization.
Adding to the unique situation, Moore mentioned during Hawks development camp that he and Rinzel will be rooming together at Minnesota, giving them an opportunity to create a strong bond on and off the ice before they officially become professional hockey players.
The pair of prospects are already on campus and have been going through practices before they have their first game action with an exhibition against Bemidji State on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. CT.
With a Gophers team that have lost a variety of players to the NHL recently, it's clear they will be turning to different guys to step up in hopes of making another deep postseason run. So far, Moore and Rinzel have been players who look ready to fill those massive shoes.
"Moore looks incredible. Everyone on the team is talking about how fast he is and how impressive he looks," said Dylan Loucks, Gopher hockey analytics and reporter for gopherhole.com. Loucks added, "Rinzel is the same. Good big, strong defender who will be relied upon a lot this year."
It's not just on the ice, however, where Rinzel has impressed thus far. As a tall, lanky prospect, Rinzel has gone through fitness training and testing (along with the rest of the team) with Gophers' strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz. According to Loucks, Rinzel has "done very well in the testing."
Posessing a 6'4", 185-pound frame entering college, Rinzel adding some muscle to his frame could do wonders for him on the ice, and he seems to be taking the proper steps towards that goal.
Obviously, Moore's speed was raved about throughout the draft process so it should come as no surprise to have that skill translate to the college level so quickly. However, it's encouraging to see him stand out among a talent-filled group like Minnesota.
While there is still time for Minnesota to finalize their lines and where guys will slot in, Loucks mentioned that Moore has been first line centering, playing with Bryce Brodzinski and Jimmy Snuggerud, while also seeing time with Rhett Pitlick and Aaron Huglen.
Rinzel has been paired with another freshman in Max Rud and has also spent time paired with Carl Fish.
So far, both Hawks prospects have been making a name for themselves as they get closer to making their Gopher debuts this month. It will be fun following their developments and Minnesota games should see a lot of viewership coming from the Chicago area.
Following the exhibition game with Bemidji State, Moore and Rinzel will officially make their Minnesota debut when the Gophers host St. Thomas for a two-game series beginning on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. CT.