Friday, April 19, 2024

Blackhawks’ Prized Prospect To Make NHL Debut Friday


The Blackhawks are on a rare heater despite being the lowest-scoring offense in the entire NHL. The team has scored 14 goals in the past two games thanks to outbursts from Connor Bedard & Co., as well as finally getting healthy and gaining some semblance of lineup consistency.

Though everything is going right in Chicago at the moment, it never hurts to add reinforcements. That’s exactly what the Blackhawks plan to do in Friday night’s game against the Kings when Landon Slaggert makes his professional debut with the team.

Slaggert, who was a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, recently finished up his senior season at Notre Dame with a loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament. As his team’s captain, the center led the Irish in both goals and points. Just one day after his final collegiate game, Slaggert signed his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks.

Slaggert is regarded as Chicago’s most NHL-ready prospect in the system. Now 21 years old, the all-around forward was offered an entry-level contract after his junior season. But with “unfinished business” in South Bend, Slaggert turned down the offer, instead returning for one more year. The decision paid off, as he now projects to make an immediate impact on the big-league roster.

The Blackhawks won’t have to do too much roster shuffling to insert Slaggert into the starting lines. In Tuesday’s brawl, forward Reese Johnson suffered a concussion, so his spot will be filled by the incoming rookie.

In addition to his demonstrated leadership, Slaggert is the perfect puzzle piece to a group of similar forwards. While most of the Blackhawks’ attackers are smaller, quicker players, Slaggert is an all-around bottom-six forward who excels at positioning himself in front of the crease. He’ll have a chance to prove he belongs in the puzzle Chicago is building as the team closes out the 2023-24 season.

With Slaggert expected to make his debut Friday, he’ll have the opportunity to play in 16 games before the end of the NHL regular season. He will likely burn the first year of his entry-level contract, effective when he hits the ten-game mark.

The Blackhawks have finally gotten things going offensively, but extra reinforcements never hurt. Slaggert will have a chance to prove he belongs firmly in the NHL lineup for next season while gaining valuable experience at the game’s highest level.

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