Part of the future of the Blackhawks was on display in Edmonton on Tuesday night as the United States played Germany in their first game at the World Juniors. More on that below, but make sure you set your calendars for today’s action. Victor Stjernborg and Sweden take on the Swiss at 1 PM CT before Ethan Del Mastro and Canada take on Latvia at 5 PM CT.
- If you fell asleep before it ended, we understand. The United States dominated Germany to open their title defense at the World Juniors on Tuesday night. Blackhawks prospects Landon Slaggert and Dominic James picked up their first points of the tournament — Slaggert had a goal and an assist while James had one helper — and Wyatt Kaiser had a good night as well.
- An intriguing trade that involves a Blackhawks prospect was announced on Tuesday night. The Edmonton Oil Kings traded Jalen Luypen to the Tri-City Americans. The full details of the trade are below. Luypen, 20, signed his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks on Aug. 1. To be absolutely clear: this is a WHL trade. This has absolutely nothing to do with his NHL rights.
- On Tuesday, Arpon Basu at The Athletic wrote a piece looking at what the Canadiens are getting in Kirby Dach. Chicago’s first-round pick in 2019 was traded to Montreal in a three-team deal that brought the 13th overall selection (used on Frank Nazar).
- Basu notes a couple items that are painfully well known to Blackhawks fans about Dach, but it’s worth noting that other organizations are asking the same questions fans are in Chicago about the evaluation and development of talent.
[Drafting Dach] was a bit of a reach, but not that much of one. Bob McKenzie’s final 2019 draft rankings for TSN based on a survey of 10 NHL scouts had Dach as the No. 5 prospect in the draft that year – and the Canadiens see that same talent in Dach.
But [the Canadiens] also had questions about how Dach was being developed, how he was being used, the situations he was being subjected to very early in his career in Chicago, and they could also look at the Blackhawks’ track record of player development – Dach became the eighth straight Blackhawks first-round pick from 2011-19 to be traded by the organization.
- He goes on to quote a source in the organization who said of Dach: “We’re not sure what we have, but I’m more willing to gamble on someone who’s 6-foot-4.”
- Basu breaks down the lack of physical play from Dach, but also points to his poor development plan and questions about his usage as some issues with taking his point production at face value. At the end of the day, his evaluation is that the Habs are taking a shot on a kid with some talent and size but whose resume to date leaves as many questions as reasons to hope. In closing, he notes that the skills are there if the Canadiens can unlock the potential.
- Speaking of Montreal and trades with the Blackhawks, one of the Habs’ top prospects scored a pretty goal at the World Juniors in the first game on Tuesday afternoon. And, of course, there was a Blackhawks tie-in.
- The NHL highlighted the Blackhawks’ work with “A Better Chicago” on Tuesday afternoon, sharing some of what The Hockey News wrote about their investment in the community.
- Sadly, we received awful news on Wednesday morning. Hall of Fame defenseman Börje Salming announced via the Maple Leafs’ social media channels that he has been diagnosed with ALS. He was a fantastic defenseman in his career and has been involved in the game since retiring. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for a magazine story years back and he enjoyed a wonderfully engaging conversation talking about almost anything but hockey. We’re hoping for strength for him and his family.
- Finally, we’ve been thru Obsessive Zach LaVine Watch and then Obsessive Alex DeBrincat Watch already this summer. Now, it’s the Bears’ turn with Obsessive Roquan Smith Watch. Our guys have you covered with all that’s coming out about the divide between the Bears and their star linebacker.