Blackhawks Prospects

Prospect Update: Ranking the Future Blackhawks (Top 10)

Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Currently the Chicago Blackhawks are doing much better than anyone would have guessed. Most media, fans, and hockey enthusiasts were almost unanimous in their belief that the 2022-2023 season would net Chicago a top 3 pick. That may still be the case, however it's important to focus in on what we "already" do have instead of constantly looking towards what "could" be.

NOTE: The definition of what a prospect is typically fluid between scouts so to clarify these prospects are 24 or younger with under 50 NHL games played.

1. LD KEVIN KORCHINSKI

Kevin Korchinski
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Currently playing in the WHL for the Seattle Thunderbirds. Early in the season Korchinski is lighting up the box score to the tune of 19pts in just 11 games. The left shot defender has elite skating and timely passing. These are his 2 best assets and they both look pro ready right now. The 6'2 blue liner still needs to fill in his frame and make better decisions at times, but make no mistake about it this is the Blackhawks best prospect.

KORCHINSKI OUTLOOK: Future Power Play QB. High scoring top pairing offensive defenseman for hopefully 10-15 seasons.

2. LW / C LUKAS REICHEL

Lukas Reichel
Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The Stan Bowman era was full of head scratching moments. The drafting of Lukas Reichel was one of them. I, for one, was yelling at the TV and jumping up and down when Dawson Mercer somehow fell to #17. Alas, Bowman takes German forward Lukas Reichel in what many thought was 10-15 spots too high. Still, Reichel has shown true NHL skill in terms of scoring. In the AHL, for the Rockford Icehogs, Lukas Reichel is an elite player. He has produced 68 points in 65 career regular season games for the Icehogs. I ultimately believe that Reichel is a wing and would do well to curb his game into a "Brandon Saad" type of player. When he gets his chance with the Blackhawks midway through this season, it will be interesting to see if he truly grabs it and never looks back.

REICHEL OUTLOOK: Should be a steady point producer in a top 6 role. My expectation for Reichel is to transition to wing once the center depth comes into focus.

3. C FRANK NAZAR

Frank Nazar
2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Nazar is, to put it mildly, all about speed. He is not the biggest of prospects and that is likely the sole reason he made it to #13 for the Blackhawks. Listed around 5'9-5'10.5 depending on where you look, Nazar relies on his edges and puck skill. Currently a freshman at the University of Michigan, Frank is actually sitting out games with an undisclosed injury. I suspect Kyle Davidson and Luke Richardson will give him all the time he needs to develop and get healthy. My expectation is that Nazar will play until his Junior season at Michigan before playing for either the Icehogs or (hopefully) the Blackhawks at 21 years of age. His game is about the rush and being a playmaker. I believe he was hands down the fastest skater in the entire 2022 draft and I can't wait for him to grow his game in Ann Arbor to be ready to help the Hawks in the near future.

NAZAR OUTLOOK: Should become the Blackhawks 2nd or 3rd line center. Frank should produce highlight level passes nightly. I believe players like Matt Barzal and Vincent Trochek are 2 professionals he should take note of as he develops.

4. LD ALEX VLASIC

Alex Vlasic
St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Alex Vlasic is a huge prospect, listed at 6'6 and 199 pounds and plays the position as a standup defensive defenseman. The former 2nd round pick (2019, 43rd overall) is actually a native of the Wilmette suburb of Chicago. He played 3 seasons in college for the Boston Terriers and even wore an "A" in his final season. Alex will never be a big point producer at any level. He is a defender with good gap-control, decision making, and the skill to keep pucks out of his zone. I think that Alex is close, but likely needs some more time to refine some of his play still. I expect him to get some time with the Hawks this year before taking on a bigger role in 22-23.

VLASIC OUTLOOK: Steady defenseman as either a second pairing left D or a 3rd pairing defensive defenseman. Do not expect big numbers from him, his job will be to break up plays, control the neutral zone, and stand forwards up before they break out. I look at Vlasic as a low ceiling, high floor future Hawk.

5. G ARVID SODERBLOM

Arvid Soderblom
Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators / Frederick Breedon/GettyImages

Arvid Soderblom is a name that is quickly becoming a player that all Blackhawk's fans know... even if there is still some debate on how to pronounce it correctly. Still just 23 years old, the Swede carries with him great size and a composed attitude. In limited time between the pipes at the NHL level he has shown a refined calmness that has translated to a .924 save percentage against pro talent. Not only that, but his prior pro season in the SHL was outstanding with a 2.03gaa and a .922 save percentage against top competition. There is a lot to like about Soderblom and he has quickly become a player we envision as our future #1 netminder.

SODERBLOM OUTLOOK: Future starter for Chicago in net. Time will tell if it is a long term solution, but early returns point to at least an above average starter in the range of 45-55 starts per season.

6. C-LW COLTON DACH

Brandon Duhaime, Colton Dach
Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild / David Berding/GettyImages

Yes, we all know he is Kirby's younger brother. Yes, we all know Kirby just got traded. Yes, we remember them both on video when Colton got the call that Chicago drafted him. That's not going to stop him from being a professional and playing hard for us. He is a great talent in his own right. He also has a completely different game than Kirby. Colton has a fantastic shot, he can hit top shelf from a bad angle and I've seen him drag inward for hard low shots past the goalie. I'm really impressed with his compete and tenacious desire to win back pucks. Dach is a big bodied center (possibly pro wing) that uses his strength by getting low for leverage and making the correct reads. Make no mistake about it, Colton is a great prospect that's best asset is to score.

DACH OUTLOOK: Middle 6 scoring wing from the left side. Colton should also be pro ready as early as next season. He has the frame and strength to take on older players already. His shot is his best asset and I expect him to be in the .30 to .40 ppg mark by the 23-24 season. I believe my view of him is higher than most, but when you watch his game for Kelowna (Captain, WHL) you see alot of translatable pro traits.

7. LW JALEN LUYPEN

Jalen Luypen
Edmonton Oil Kings at Kelowna Rockets / Marissa Baecker/GettyImages

Not sure I've been this excited for a 7th round, 216th overall selection... ever? Jalen is a goal scorer with amazing release points. Before his injury (out 3-4 months with rotator cuff injury), Lyupen was likely to move to Rockford. As a player, Jalen does one thing extremely well above everything else: precise wrist shots. He will read the goalie, hold for a second and then adjust his shot. I've seen him nail cross bar and down one timers and make the correct passes on odd man rushes. Offensively, there is a ton to like. In the past 2 WHL seasons he was averaging over a point per game and over .5 goals per game which is an elite stat. Size and defense are likely to be slightly below average moving forward, however what the LW does is present a pro level wrist shot and offensive IQ moving north-south.

LYUPEN OUTLOOK: Middle 6 to likely 3rd line goal scorer. The LW will also figure into a 2nd line PP role early on in his career. He needs to get stronger and healthy, however I see him as a great option on the wing as early as the 23-24 campaign.

8. LW GAVIN HAYES

Gavin Hayes
Chicago Blackhawks v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Frank Nazar is going to grab alot of the headlines for the return for Kirby Dach, but don't forget about pick #66 in that deal. Gavin Hayes has a ton of upside and started his OHL season showing it to the league. For the Flint Firebirds he has tallied 17pts (8g, 9a) in just 16 matches. Hayes is a LW, but demonstrates alot of center traits with good hands, decision making, and crafty passing. I also expect him to continue to grow and should be a nice prototype wing at the next level. This is a crafty, balanced, well-coached player that projects as an NHL pro.

HAYES OUTLOOK: Gavin has the ability to play center, however his experience and projected position is still LW. He possesses a great frame and I believe has all the tools necessary to have an NHL future. It's his passing and two-way IQ that stands out. Likely not a big scorer, but seems to me like a reliable bottom 6 wing as a pro.... albeit in 4-5 more seasons.

9. C RYAN GREENE

Ryan Greene
2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Freshman Terrier is on a loaded collegiate team that boasts an incredible 12 NHL drafted players (including Drew Commesso). Still, besides maybe Lane Hutson he is one of the players that stands out the most on film (digital). Firstly, he IS a center which to me holds a ton of weight in any prospect ranking. Where Ryan excels is in puck possession. He gets the puck, reads the play, and handles it typically making outstanding decisions. He was a little older for the draft class as well so you can see a bit more of a mature body than other 22' drafted players. Listed at 6'1 and 174lbs I'd venture to guess he is pushing 6'2 - 190 from the games I've seen. One trait that I really noticed in both his early college games and his USHL days was his ability to stay low in passing lanes. Greene always kept his body towards the play to keep a forecheck present and play the gaps. For me, he projects as a two-way center.

GREENE OUTLOOK: He will need some time as I feel his shot needs some work, but he has an outstanding two-way feel about his game. The centerman may take another 4 seasons for a true NHL look, but I think if he works on his craft could be a really good 3rd line center. It's early, but the habits are there.


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