Top prospects for Chicago Blackhawks

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NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 32 teams from Aug. 8-Sept. 8. Today, the top five prospects for the Chicago Blackhawks, according to NHL.com.

 

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1. Lukas Reichel, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 17 pick in 2020 NHL Draft.

2021-22 season: Blackhawks: 11 GP, 0-1-1; Rockford (AHL): 56 GP, 21-36-57

Reichel (6 foot, 170 pounds) set a team record for most points in a season by a rookie for Rockford of the American Hockey League. How the Blackhawks work with the 20-year-old this season remains to be seen. Because they’re in a rebuild, they may want to split his time between Chicago and Rockford, giving him more experience but not at the expense of hurting his game.

“His abilities to make plays at a high pace is really off the charts in my book,” Rockford coach Anders Sorensen said. “He can make plays skating full speed and he can also slow down. When the puck is on his stick, something’s going to happen. It’s OK to be overripe when you get to the NHL. The NHL is such a hard league to play in. For him to play another year [with Rockford], it won’t hurt him, but we’ll see.”

Projected NHL arrival: 2023-24 season

 

2. Alex Vlasic, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 43 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

2021-22 season: Blackhawks: 15 GP, 1-1-2; Boston University: 32 GP, 1-7-8

After finishing his junior season at BU, the 21-year-old made his NHL debut with Chicago on March 19. As with Reichel, last season was a decent sample with the Blackhawks. It depends on how he does in training camp, but Vlasic (6-6, 199) could spend more time with Rockford this season.

“His physical attributes are obviously really off the charts with his size and skating ability,” Sorensen said. “I think he’s a really smart player as well, and that stood out in development camp. I just watched him last season, most of the games he played in, and I was really impressed with how he came in, coming from college.”

Projected NHL arrival: 2023-24

 

3. Kevin Korchinski, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 7 pick in 2022 NHL Draft

2021-22 season: Seattle (WHL): 67 GP, 4-61-65

Korchinski (6-1, 185) had an outstanding season with Seattle and is ready for the next step. The Blackhawks liked what they saw from the 18-year-old at their development camp in July. Coach Luke Richardson said it would help Korchinski to watch film of former NHL defenseman Duncan Keith, who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

“He’s an unbelievable playmaker with the puck,” Blackhawks director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey said. “He gets up ice fast, gets back for pucks fast. He’s really good on the power play. Again, he’s different than a lot of the defensemen we’ve drafted in the last few years. He’s really puck-friendly, he’ll be a first-unit power-play guy, projects to be a first-pairing defenseman, can eat minutes.”

Projected NHL arrival: 2023-24

 

4. Frank Nazar, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 13 pick in 2022 NHL Draft

2021-22 season: U18 (USNTDP): 56 GP, 28-42-70

The 18-year-old brings a lot of speed and a scoring touch, which he showed in the USA Hockey development program. Nazar (5-9, 175) will play at the University of Michigan this season.

“He can make quick plays under pressure, he’s not afraid to drive the middle of the ice on the rush, bring people with him and bounce the puck out,” Doneghey said. “He didn’t get a lot of power-play time this year because their top unit was excellent. He’s very good on the penalty kill and has character through the roof.”

Projected NHL arrival: 2024-25

Video: NHL Draft: Best of Frank Nazar

 

5. Arvid Soderblom, G

How acquired: Signed as free agent May 13, 2021

2021-22 season: Blackhawks: 3 GP (2 starts), 0-2-0, 5.01 GAA, .863 save percentage; Rockford (AHL): 38 GP, 21-15-2, 2.76 GAA, .919 save percentage, 2 shutouts

The 22-year-old made his NHL debut last season but primarily played for Rockford, including during the Calder Cup Playoffs when he was 2-3-0 with a 2.99 goals-against average. 925 save percentage and one shutout. The Blackhawks have Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock slated as their Nos. 1 and 2 goalies this season. Soderblom (6-3, 180) may see some time with the Blackhawks but mainly is expected to be the No. 1 for Rockford this season.

“The biggest thing for him was adjusting to the smaller rink,” Sorensen said, “but as the season went on, the workload he had to carry for us, that was something that was somewhat new for him. He handled it well. He also improved his puck-handling.”

Projected NHL arrival: 2023-24

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