Three Chicago Blackhawks Prospects Close to Making the Jump from College

Three young players that might be ready to sign their rookie deals very soon

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IHOCKEY-JUNIOR-USA-NOR / ADAM IHSE/TT/GettyImages
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Frank Nazar III

Frank Nazar is one of the best young players in the Blackhawks system, with a toss-up between him and Oliver Moore for the top spot in the prospect pool. He was considered a possible draft steal when the Blackhawks selected him 13th overall in the 2022 NHL draft, after acquiring the pick from Montreal for Kirby Dach. His freshman season was limited to only 13 games after undergoing hip surgery for a nagging injury, tallying 7 points. However, Nazar has bounced back greatly in his second season with Michigan, currently sitting at 37 points in 37 games.

Nazar is a highly skilled forward who was drafted as a center but also plays right wing. He is a gifted skater who can often trick defenders with his footwork. When Kyle Davidson took over as the Blackhawks' General Manager, he emphasized drafting players who were excellent skaters, leading Nazar to be the first forward selected by Chicago in 2022.

Another strong aspect of Nazar's game is his playmaking ability, with 23 of his 37 points this season are assists. His playmaking was displayed at the recent World Junior Championships, where Nazar had eight assists in seven games en route to winning the Gold Medal. Despite being a smaller forward at 5'10 175lbs, the Blackhawks' current roster does not have many players who can think the game like Nazar does, with his hockey IQ being a valuable asset to his game.

Nazar and his teammates will be playing their rival Michigan State in the Big 10 Hockey Championship, facing off against 2024 top draftee Artyom Levshunov. If Nazar does sign with the Blackhawks after his season, he might get into a few of the final remaining games to see if he's truly ready for the NHL.