With the World Juniors in the rear view mirror, we’re back in a bit of a holding pattern waiting for hockey on the ice. The next action for us to watch will be the Blackhawks’ prospects facing Minnesota’s next generation the second weekend in September. So, for now, we start looking ahead to the 2022-23 season and beyond.
- On Sunday night, NHL Network dropped their rankings of the top 20 wings in the NHL right now. Patrick Kane came in tenth in the league. Somewhat surprisingly, our old friend Alex DeBrincat only ranked 17th on their list.
- Here’s what they had to say about 88:
Kane, who was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017, led the Blackhawks in points for the seventh straight time last season, when he had 92 points (26 goals, 66 assists), and averaged 21:49 of ice time in 78 games. Few players have been more dominant over the past decade as the 33-year-old right wing; he’s scored at least 20 goals 14 times and at least 30 five times. A three-time Cup winner (2010, 2013, 2015), Kane leads the NHL in assists since entering the League in 2007-08 (750), is third in points (1,180) and fourth in goals (430).
- The good folks at The Athletic are rolling out their rankings of organization’s prospects in the NHL this week. Thus far, Corey Pronman has revealed teams ranked No. 25-32.
- Good news for Blackhawks fans: the St. Louis Blues come in at 29th overall. We’re very interested to see where the Blackhawks rank now.
- Last September, the Blackhawks ranked 23rd in Pronman’s eyes. After selling this summer and adding a handful of new players through the draft — including three first-round selections — how their ranking improves will speak volumes about how outsides view the work GM Kyle Davidson did in his first draft class.
- Kirby Dach, Lukas Reichel, Ian Mitchell and Philipp Kurashev were the top four prospects in Pronman’s Blackhawks-specific rankings last year. Dach is no longer with the organization and Kurashev will graduate after playing a full season in the NHL.
- While we’re on the subject of prospects, Scott Wheeler dropped an expansive notebook from the World Juniors at The Athletic on Sunday night. And he commented on a number of the Blackhawks’ prospects. Here are Wheeler’s comments about the Blackhawks’ players in the WJC.
- Ethan Del Mastro (Canada): “Late add after Daemon Hunt got injured. Scratched in opener but placed on the second pairing in Game 2 and he didn’t leave it. Did his job playing off of the offensively-gifted Lukas Cormier. Put some kids on the seat of their pants (including some big boys). Separated players from pucks with ease.”
- Landon Slaggert (USA): “Pushed pace. Looked strong out there through his skating. Did some little things on that top line, like setting some important screens and getting sticks on tips. Made some plays. Did it all, really. I was impressed.”
- Dominic James (USA): “Like his instincts and reads offensively and defensively. Puts himself in sound position and then reacts from there, rather than chasing. Comes up with little interceptions and disruptions because of it. Generating good speed in straight lines and using it to hunt pucks. Not noticeable offensively, though.”
- Wyatt Kaiser (USA): “Got beat one-on-one flatfooted a couple of times. Skating can look a little frantic but he can really get from A to B. Active. Gets his shots on target, whether that’s lobbing them through traffic or stepping into a more attacking wrister. Strong over pucks/in physical engagements. All of that is good. There’s a hitch, though: he was really very hectic throughout, rushing into fires and trying to do too much. There were a few times where I found myself thinking ‘What is he doing?'”
- Victor Stjernborg (Sweden): “Good on PK. Noticeable on the cycle buzzing around the offensive zone with his hurried and strong crossovers.”
- Nathan MacKinnon had himself a day with the Stanley Cup in Halifax this weekend.
- Finally, we love talking prospects whether it’s hockey or baseball, and the Cubs promoted one of their hot young players last night. We’ve got that news covered to start your Monday.