Friday, September 29, 2023

Blackhawks Top 25 Prospects Part 6: #1-5


With the Blackhawks being a team built for the future, the prospect pool is among the best we’ve ever seen. Though the group is headlined by obvious names like Bedard and Kevin Korchinski, GM Kyle Davidson has done a great job acquiring talent at every level. The pipeline to Chicago is a deep one, and there’s serious talent throughout the team’s top 25 prospects and even beyond. With that being said, some young stars will have a better chance to make an impact than others, creating a need for a comprehensive ranking of the top 25 prospects in the Blackhawks’ system, plus a few extras.

Below is the sixth and final part of the series, featuring the best of the best. Though the Blackhawks have an incredibly deep prospect pool, the top of the list is extremely star-studded. Most of these players will be among the top lines throughout this season, where they’ll be expected to make huge impacts on a nightly basis.

5. Oliver Moore

The fact that Moore is fifth on this list is a testament to how loaded the top of the pipeline is – he’s the best skater in the 2023 class, which included tremendous talents like Connor Bedard. He showed flashes of that skill at the USA Summer Showcase, where he started to prove he can be truly electric breaking into the offensive end. He’s an elite playmaker who will generate countless chances when he gets to Chicago. He’ll report to a stacked roster at the University of Minnesota this fall, where the 19th overall pick will aim to lead his team to a national championship before turning pro.

4. Frank Nazar

Among the Blackhawks currently in the system, perhaps only Bedard has a higher ceiling than the 19-year-old Michigan product. Nazar was picked 13th overall last year, but a lower-body injury hampered his first year with the Wolverines. He answered all questions about how he would return at the Summer Showcase, where he put up monster performances all week. Nazar is clearly healthy and will take over as a leader in Michigan, where he’s expected to have a huge year.

3. Lukas Reichel

Of all prospects in the system, Reichel is the most proven “sure thing”. He was a star in 23 games in a Blackhawks sweater last year, notching 15 points on a team without much offensive firepower. He’s a fast forward with good puck handling who will skate among the top lines in Chicago all year. Amid a vastly changing roster, Reichel is one of the new young faces of the team.

2. Kevin Korchinski

At this point in the offseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Blackhawks is whether Korchinski will make the jump to the NHL or return to Seattle in the WHL. He’s more than worthy of a roster spot, and I previously projected him to play on the top defensive line. Korchinski is a great attacking defenseman who is constantly setting up his teammates with great scoring chances, as evidenced by his 73 points in 54 games last year. He has all the tools to eventually be an elite NHL blueliner – he was taken seventh overall last year for a reason. Is the 19-year-old ready for the bright lights of the big league?

1. Connor Bedard

Let’s not overthink this one – Bedard is the top prospect in the entire NHL. This year’s first-overall pick has been dubbed “the future of hockey” by some and has drawn comparisons to past prospects like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Connor McDavid. We’ve talked about him plenty, and for good reason. When the Blackhawks won the draft lottery and got the right to select Bedard, the entire trajectory of the team’s rebuild was altered. As the 18-year-old prepares for his first NHL season, he faces an enormous amount of pressure as the next face of the league but has the physical and mental maturity to hopefully rise above it and lead his squad to the promised land.

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