It turns out Landon Slaggert will be signing with the Chicago Blackhawks once Notre Dame's season concludes.
The Blackhawks 2020 third-round pick turned down a contract offer last summer to return to the Fighting Irish for his senior season. The move felt like Slaggert was going to let the clock run out on the Hawks' draft rights and make him a free agent.
Instead, Slaggert is ready to sign with the Blackhawks once his college season is over. He confirmed that to Chicago Sun-Times Blackhawks beat writer Ben Pope.
Slaggert told Pope he returned to Notre Dame this season to play with his younger brother and also rebound from a disastrous junior season when he had just 13 points in 35 games.
He has bounced back with 25 points so far this season along with 16 goals. He even put up two goals against Michigan in December--a team that features fellow Hawks prospect Frank Nazar.
Notre Dame's regular season ends on February 24th and then the Fighting Irish have the Big 10 Tournament in early March. If they do not make the NCAA Tournament, then the six-foot forward is eligible to sign with the Hawks.
What will the Chicago Blackhawks be getting from Slaggert once he signs with the franchise?
Hawks assistant general manager Mark Eaton provided high praise when he spoke with Pope about Slaggert.
Eaton feels Slaggert is definitely a third-line player with the potential to play on the first line.
“He still has all the qualities you’d look for in a third-line player,” Eaton said in December. “But he has shown those first-line qualities this year with his hands, his ability to make plays in the tough areas, along the walls, in front of the net [and] in the neutral zone, absorbing hits and still making skilled plays to his center.
Slaggert detailed to Pope that he worked on his offensive game in the offseason, especially his shooting and stick handling. You can tell this season it is paying off.
His strong play has earned him consideration for the Hobey Baker Award.
CHGO's Chicago Blackhawks Podcast host and beat reporter, Mario Tirabassi ranked Slaggert as a level-three prospect. Those are the prospects he classified as a good prospect with the ability to be a complimentary player in the mold of Andrew Shaw or Dave Bolland. Those two had very good careers so it would be nice if Slaggert followed them.
His co-hosts Jay Zawaski and Greg Boysen also had high praise for Slaggert when they got a chance to watch him.
Slaggert is 10th among Blackhawks prospects playing either at the juniors or college level in points and is third in goals scored.
Slaggert is a player the Blackhawks could use right now with his ability to produce offense, especially with the Hawks' offense at the bottom of the NHL. He could be the skilled gritty guy on the top line with Connor Bedard. Slaggert could also be an outstanding third-line player who does a bit of everything.
The key is the Blackhawks need players like Slaggert to be a part of the next great Hawks team. Sure, the Blackhawks need superior-skilled players to skate with Bedard. At the same time, you win Stanley Cups with the support of guys like Slaggert.
Remember, it was Dave Bolland who scored a lot of clutch goals during the Hawks' cup runs last decade. Hopefully, Slaggert provides some moments like that of his own.