Sunday, April 21, 2024

IceHogs Head Coach Anders Sorensen Raved About These Two Prospects


As the Rockford IceHogs’ season appears to be coming to a close soon, their head coach, Anders Sorensen, picked out two prospects, in particular, to give props to.

When asked about Isaak Phillips and Alex Vlasic, both of whom have shown tremendous improvement, he had plenty of praise to give:

“I think they’re going to be studs, both of them. I really like, not just, obviously you’re seeing the on-ice product, but off the ice, character through the roof, both of them. They want to get better, they want to work on things. Anything you talk to them about or ask them to do or try to do or adjust, they do it right away.”

– Anders Sorensen via the Blackhawks Talk Podcast

The Blackhawks’ prospect pool has become one of the best in the entire NHL, and Phillips and Vlasic are perfect examples of why. Both exhibited great leadership qualities and talent on the ice this season. It seems that it won’t be long before we see them contribute on the NHL level for the Blackhawks.

Alex Vlasic

The expectations for defenseman Alex Vlasic have been high since day one. He was drafted 43rd overall to the Blackhawks in 2019 but played three seasons for the Boston Terriers in the NCAA. In the spring of last year, he signed his entry-level contract and made his debut as the 2021-22 season wound down.

The hometown product (born in Wilmette, IL) has primarily contributed to the IceHogs this season with the occasional contribution to the Blackhawks. He’s played in 56 games, logging a plus-minus of 12 while being a force on defense. He’s been leaned on to play in every high-pressure situation, logging tons of ice time on a nightly basis. It’s expected that he’ll make the jump to the NHL full-time next year, locking down the blue line.

Isaak Phillips

A fifth-round pick in 2020, Isaak Phillips has gradually stepped up his game in the past three seasons for the IceHogs. He’s flirted with the NHL for a few games each year, but he’s been a primary contributor in the AHL. He played in 51 games this year, and he’s a great skater for his size. Sorensen praised Phillips as a physical specimen but had previously said he needed to work on the strategic aspects of his game, like knowing when to rush and when to be back on his heels. He’s exhibited that exquisitely this year. It seems that with his production at the AHL level, it also won’t be long before he finds himself in Chicago. As a fifth-rounder, Phillips contributing would be a huge win for a Blackhawks team that’s rebuilding through the draft.

Both Alex Vlasic and Isaak Phillips are perfect examples of the type of prospect the Blackhawks are looking for. This team is still recovering from the massive contracts they gave players in the 2010s and is looking to flood the lineup with cheap rookies that can gel together and contribute. Vlasic and Phillips are two defensemen that can impact the game in many different ways and should be headed to the Blackhawks soon.

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