A look at how Philipp Kurashev turned his career around for the Chicago Blackhawks

Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks
Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Last season was when Kurashev needed to show he could be more than a depth piece.

Sure, he was a success story, carving out an NHL career after being the 120th pick in his draft, but this was his time to prove he could succeed in a top-six role. With the tank for Connor Bedard commencing, Kurashev received 17 minutes a night but posted a paltry 25 points in 70 games. He went to salary arbitration with the Hawks and was awarded a two-year, prove-it deal.

As can be seen above, Kurashev’s career was in decline, and it wouldn’t have been all that surprising if Kurashev was moved after this season if he failed to show his game could improve. But, boy, did he show what he was capable of this season.

Spending the year riding shotgun with rookie phenom Connor Bedard, Kurashev showed what he can do when surrounded by elite talent.

Kurashev looks exponentially more confident with the puck, and his playmaking has shone thanks to Bedard’s sublime finishing ability. He has used his speed to push defenders back to give himself and his linemates more room to create. Furthermore, playing with number 98 has taken the pressure off of him and freed him up for more opportunities like this...