The Blackhawks Top Prospects and their NHL Ceiling (Comparables)

Never accurate, always fun

Los Angeles Kings v Pittsburgh Penguins
Los Angeles Kings v Pittsburgh Penguins / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

Sure, things like the NHL 24 beta testing are out, some lists (top 20 etc), even some fun early debates about the season... but it's still not hockey. It's just "talking" about hockey. I don't know about you, but ever since May 8th happened, I am ready to see some hockey!

Alas, we are still 42 days until October 10th. That means more time spent wondering, doing lists, and what-if scenarios. Recently a couple of publications came out with their prospect pool rankings and in each instance the Blackhawks came in 2nd (my personal list they were 3rd). The Athletic hockey Podcast also had a prospects ranking show where some of the industry leaders made comparables. ( Thinking on this it's hard to argue for or against as these are mostly teenagers we are debating. We can only use their work prior to being a professional NHL player and venture a guess on their future play.

When looking through our top prospects I started thinking about how these players ceilings could be reached and which past or present player that would most closely represent. While no two players will ever be directly comparable to one another there are certainly skill traits that players share that may indicate where a young player might excel at the next level. I admit though, this is a pointless endeavor and is done mostly for fun. This is how I saw it (using my top 50 article that has 2 top tiers of players - 6 in total):

Connor Bedard - Comparable Skill Traits / Stats: Marcel Dionne

Notes: The Little Beaver is one of the greatest players to ever play. Well under 6ft, but fearless and a natural goal scorer, Dionne was electric to watch out on the ice. Over 700 goals and nearly 1800 points playing for the Red Wings, Kings, and Rangers Dionne will go down as one of the true greats in hockey. If Bedard can come anywhere near these numbers, the United Center will be the hottest ticket in the league for a long time.

Kevin Korchinski - Comparable to: Shea Theodore

Notes: This one can't be argued. From their size, skill traits, and coaching they've received both Korchinski and Theodore appear to be mirror images of eachother at similar stages. Theodore is one of the leagues most creative skaters and passers from the blue line. The Stanley Cup champion makes difficult keeps and skating angles look effortless and I see this in Korchinski at the moment. Time will tell, but this could be the Blackhawks next great power play quarterback.

Oliver Moore - Comparable: Dylan Larkin

Notes: The comparison is nothing new, mostly because it truly is the ceiling comp for Moore. From the skating, 2 way center play, and hustle both players lineup on a track for equivalent development. If Moore does reach this level, then the Blackhawks will have found their longterm #2C (something we've never really had).

Lukas Reichel - Early Skill Traits Comparable to DeBrusk / Guentzel / Teravainen

Notes: Recently debated on "X" @Blackhawk_Up at length, Reichel is definitely his own type of player, but does show signs to becoming a dependable top (to middle) 6 forward just like the three mentioned players. Will he engage players more as he garners physical maturity? Perhaps, but one thing is certain the ceiling for Lukas Reichel is as a big part of the Blackhawks' top 6 moving forward.

Ryan Greene - Comparable to: Craig Smith

Notes: While I'd love to put an all world 2 way centerman like Elias Lindholm here, I'm not sure Ryan Greene is going to be able to reach those heights (though clearly I hope I'm wrong on that). No, when looking through careers, positions, skill traits, and size comparisons I started diving into the career of Craig Smith (long time Pred / Bruins forward. This is a guy with above average size and strength and has always been a flexible 2 way reliable player wherever he has played (now with Dallas). Smith has 200 career goals and just under .5ppg for his 853 game (regular season) career. A 5 time 20 goal scorer that could play anywhere from the 2nd line to the 4th line if needed. If Ryan Greene, as a late 2nd round pick, continues his progression (had an excellent freshman season at BU) then perhaps this is will look like a conservative take in the years to come.

Frank Nazar - Comparable to: Vincent Trocheck

Notes: Vinnie Trocheck has had a great career and has beat the odds to mainly stick at center as an undersized player. Now with 5 seasons over 50 points and a near 0.70 ppg for his career, Trocheck has used his speed, vision, and craftiness to produce at the highest level. Nazar has a similar road ahead and will try and beat the odds of becoming an undersized center in the NHL (there aren't many sub 6ft centers). More than likely he will end up as a RW, but not until the position has clearly been defined for him. I see alot of similarly outstanding traits between the two players, but clear differences as well. From a stat trajectory I think if Nazar has a career like Trocheck, most Blackhawks fans would be thrilled. Looking back at Trocheck's draft year reports, they line up with Nazar's to a "T" as well... Offensively gifted with north-south speed and creative scoring prowess.

There you have it, our top prospects (from my top 50 list) list and whom I see them lining up with as their careers unfold. Obviously these comparables can't be accurate as every single player is different. Moreover, this is a simple exercise to try and compute careers present or past and how they may translate to our prospects position, stats, and effectiveness given today's NHL and how those individuals faired.

Last Note: These are ceilings for the players and how I see it. While I'd love for a prospect to go beyond these comparable NHLers, it may be too much to proclaim at their current offseason stasis. I think that if anything comparing them to these good to great to Hall of Fame players is nothing but a complement to their current progression and how I view them.