Thursday, April 18, 2024

Six Blackhawks Prospects To Represent NCAA Teams On National Stage This Week


For Blackhawks fans who tuned in to Sunday night’s NCAA hockey championship bracket reveal, many of the individual names listed by the panel of analysts may have sounded familiar.

That’s because Chicago is set to have a whopping six of its prospects appear in this week’s tournament regionals as their respective teams fight for a championship. The half-dozen skaters will appear on five teams in three separate regionals beginning on Thursday.

Frank Nazar

Frank Nazar is likely the most notable of the Blackhawks’ prospects in the tournament, as he could find himself signing a contract and making his NHL debut when his collegiate season comes to a close. The Michigan sophomore has 16 goals and 39 points this year along with a strong faceoff record of 368-309. His squad will face North Dakota in the first round of the Maryland Heights regional and could play against Michigan State or Western Michigan for a spot in the Frozen Four.

Oliver Moore/Sam Rinzel

Oliver Moore ranks third on the Minnesota Gophers with 33 points and second in plus-minus at +21. He’s one of the most dangerous players in college hockey thanks to his speed, as he was widely regarded as the best skater in his 2023 draft class. His impressive plus-minus ranks only second to fellow Blackhawks prospect Sam Rinzel, who boasts a +23 number. The freshman defenseman has had a stellar season of his own as a nearly point-per-game player.

The two Gophers are set to face the Omaha Mavericks, who enter the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, on Thursday night. With a win, they’d play again Saturday against No. 2 overall Boston University or RIT with a trip to St. Paul on the line.

Ryan Greene

Speaking of Boston U, the Terriers currently have a top Chicago prospect of their own on the roster in Ryan Greene. The sophomore center has had one of the best seasons of any player in the Blackhawks’ pipeline with 35 total points. He’s spent this season as his team’s second-line center behind Macklin Celebrini, who Blackhawks fans will also undoubtedly have their eyes on. Greene may be ready to make the jump to professional hockey next season.

Aidan Thompson

Fresh off of winning an NCHC championship, Thompson and the Denver Pioneers will be the top-seeded team in the Springfield Regional, where they’ll face UMass-Amherst. Thompson has shown strong development since he was drafted in the third round in 2022, with 30 points in his sophomore season.

Liam Gorman

Thompson’s Pioneers will go up against Liam Gorman, who hasn’t been in the spotlight for much of this season for the Blackhawks. He’s had a tough go of it since being drafted by the Penguins in 2018; the graduate forward played at Princeton until 2023, then transferred to UMass for this year. He’s tallied three assists in 27 games and is unlikely to be signed this summer despite his rights being acquired by Chicago during the 2022 draft.

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