Friday, April 19, 2024

Blackhawks Jump In Latest Prospect Rankings Despite Top Youngsters Leaving List


For nearly two years, the Blackhawks have boasted one of the NHL’s best prospect pools. While players have come and gone like rookies Connor Bedard and Alex Vlasic, who no longer qualify as prospects due to their newfound NHL tenure, player evaluation and drafting have been true strengths of Chicago under the direction of GM Kyle Davidson.

After the midway point of a brutal season at the NHL level, it’s become apparent that the Blackhawks once again have reinforcements on the way. That’s the way Scott Wheeler at The Athletic sees it, and he ranked Chicago at No. 7 in the league in his midseason list. Below is his list of the top 15 in the Blackhawks’ system:

Oliver Moore, C/LW, Minnesota (Big Ten)
Frank Nazar III, C, Michigan (Big Ten)
Sam Rinzel, RHD, Minnesota (Big Ten)
Lukas Reichel, LW/C, Rockford* (AHL)
Ethan Del Mastro, LHD, Rockford (AHL)
Adam Gajan, G, Green Bay (USHL)
Drew Commesso, G, Rockford (AHL)
Ryan Greene, C, Boston University (Hockey East)
Nick Lardis, W, Brantford (OHL)
Colton Dach, LW, Rockford (AHL)
Wyatt Kaiser, LHD, Rockford (AHL)
Roman Kantserov, RW, Metallurg (KHL)
Gavin Hayes, RW, Soo (OHL)
Nolan Allan, LHD, Rockford (AHL)
Isaak Phillips, LHD, Chicago (NHL)

Without Bedard, Vlasic, and Kevin Korchinski on the list, for the Blackhawks’ pipeline to still rank among the league’s best is a great sign of what’s to come. While seeing Lukas Reichel inside the top five may leave a bad taste in the mouths of Blackhawks fans, the prospect pool is full of NHL-ready talent, especially at the top of the list.

Speaking of the top of the list, Moore and Nazar have been far and away the team’s most prized possessions since they were taken in the first round of each of the last two drafts. I tend to place Nazar a bit higher than Moore on the list, but both display unique talent and will transition well to the NHL level as early as the end of this season.

One point of contention I have with this list is the omission of Notre Dame’s Landon Slaggert. The captain has been excellent at the NCAA level all year and is nearly guaranteed to suit up in Chicago once his season comes to a close.

Still, the Blackhawks’ prospect pool is a deep one throughout the system and isn’t drying up anytime soon. Once this next crop of youngsters graduates to the NHL ranks, their spots will be replenished with four first-round picks over the next two years, along with five second-rounders. Though top-tier young players like Bedard and Korchinski can no longer be considered prospects, reinforcements are still on the way for the Blackhawks.

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