Vlasic, Slaggert, Korchinski and Other Mark Eaton Camp Standouts for the Blackhawks

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Vlasic, Slaggert, Korchinski and Other Mark Eaton Camp Standouts for the Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks

There wasn’t much to take in on the ice today, with testing going on at Fifth-Third Arena, other than the sheer speed and agility of some of the most giant humans on the earth (and some not so big). So I was interested to hear which of the prospects in camp have stood out over the first few days in the eyes of Mark Eaton, the Blackhawks director of player development.

Eaton named Alex Vlasic, Wyatt Kaiser, and Landon Slaggert as three that have jumped out at him but had plenty of good things to say about other prospects in camp.

Alex Vlasic

Alex Vlasic is a big dude (I stood next to him off of skates today, he looks just as big as he did on the ice), making a big impression on the Blackhawks. After impressing in his 15-game NHL stint this year to the point that Kyle Davidson and his staff saw more value in a full offseason than Vlasic playing with Rockford in the AHL playoffs, Vlasic has picked up where he left off at Development Camp.

Eaton says that Vlasic has taken on a leadership role this summer, which is high praise for a 21-year-old who was playing college hockey six months ago.

“It’s hard and would probably be unfair to go through guys individually, but, obviously, [Alex] Vlasic coming off of the end of the season playing 15 games in the NHL, has really taken on a leadership role here.”

Wyatt Kaiser

Eaton spoke about the revamped defenseman pipeline in the Blackhawks system being one that’s undergone major changes in the past few years, and Wyatt Kaiser is one of the guys that Eaton sees as a big part of that group going forward.

“Wyatt Kaiser is a guy who made a big commitment to his offseason training this summer, and I think it’s showing on the ice. You know, when we talked about the identity we’re trying to build here with compete and speed.”

“I think his physique, his strength; he spent a lot of time working on the core and allowing himself to be stronger in battles and sustain the big minutes he’s going to play at Duluth and going forward in the pros.”

Landon Slaggert

A 2020 third-rounder, Landon Slaggert scored 12 goals and logged 14 helpers as a sophomore for the Fighting Irish last season and, according to Mark Eaton, is one of the standouts of camp this week.

“A guy like Landon Slaggert sticks out as well. He has had those moments.”

Kevin Korchinski

Kevin Korchinski caught my eye today more than any other prospect on the ice. The seventh-overall pick in the NHL Draft was billed as a high-upside speedster, and he looked the part today. Mark Eaton’s assessment of Korchinski is as spot-on as it is promising.

“Kevin’s game in particular, what I’ve noticed, is just how well he moves around the ice. He’s a pretty big kid. Looking at him off the ice and seeing the upside of how much he can fill out and continue to get stronger and grow into his frame is exciting, but the way he already skates and can handle the puck and [having his] head up all the time, surveying the surface or the ice, can make plays. The overall quickness of his game has been exciting to watch.”

Korchinski was big but fluid and fast and lacked no confidence. He looked like he’d been there before. Korchinski

Drew Commesso

The Blackhawks have now acquired two goaltenders in the last week with Petr Mrazek arriving via trade during the first round of the NHL Draft and Alex Stalock being signed today as a free agent, but Chicago’s future in net might be 2020 second-rounder Drew Commesso.

Here’s what Eaton had to say about Commesso’s performance at camp this week:

“He’s looked great. I’m not an expert in evaluating goaltending; I’ll leave that to Pete Aubry and Dan Ellis. But, when I look at a goalie and see that he’s just making every save look easy, that’s when I get impressed with a goalie, and that’s what I’m seeing from him in the first couple of days here. He just makes every stop look easy, and I think that in his situation, going back to BU with Jay Pandolfo coaching there, he’s going to be relied upon heavily. I think he’ll be able to continue to develop his game and show us that he’s ready to make that jump after this season potentially.”

Eaton Likes What He Sees with Defenseman Group

Eaton was complimentary of the young stable of defensemen that the Blackhawks have as a whole and touted the additions of Kevin Korchinski and Sam Rinzel as exciting additions to that group.

“It’s been a big change over the last few years,” Eaton said. “Obviously, size is something that we’ve focused on and put some emphasis on, but it’s not size alone. It’s guys that can skate, that can think the game, and that can make plays with the puck. So, you add Kevin [Korchinski] and Sam [Rinzel] from this year’s draft, and I think it’s a deep part of our prospect pool. Exciting. That’s what you want; you want a big group, a group that can compete against each other and draws the best out of one another, and that’s what we have.”

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.