The BN Blackhawks Top 20 Prospects Rankings (Post-WJC Update)

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Kevin Korchinski Blackhawks 2022 NHL Draft

The BN Blackhawks Top 20 Prospects Rankings (Post-WJC Update)

Chicago Blackhawks

One month ago, we updated our prospect rankings for the Chicago Blackhawks in the wake of the draft and development camp. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to watch five Blackhawks prospects take part in the World Junior Championship.

The World Juniors gave us an opportunity to see these prospects skate against some of the best players in the world at their ages. Obviously this isn’t NHL (or even AHL) talent, but many of these players are expected to be among the top young players in the league over the coming 2-3 years.

With the performances from the Blackhawks’ five prospects in the WJC, it’s worth taking stock of their work and adjusting our prospect rankings accordingly. The next opportunity we’ll have to tweak our rankings will be after the Tom Kurver’s Tournament against the Minnesota Wild’s prospects in mid-September.

Let’s get to it!

1. Kevin Korchinski, D

Age: 18
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 1st round (No. 7 overall)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-2  Wt: 185
Contract Expires: N/A

After putting up 65 points in 67 games in the WHL last season, Korchinski flew up draft boards and was the Blackhawks’ primary target when trying to acquire a top-ten pick in any trade for Alex DeBrincat. Watching him at development camp, he has the look of the real deal. He can absolutely fly up and down the ice. The Hawks will give him time to develop, but he could be a game-changer on the blue line in the future.

2. Lukas Reichel, C/W

Age: 20
Acquired: 2020 NHL Draft — 1st round (No. 17 overall)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-0  Wt: 170
Contract Expires: 2024

Reichel falls out of the top spot on our rankings, but remains in the top two. He’s still a solid prospect, but he was the best of a weak group of forwards in the Blackhawks’ system. That is no longer the case; we don’t have to make an effort to add forwards to our top prospect rankings anymore. And Reichel is going to have to continue improving to stay the top forward in the system.

3. Frank Nazar, C

Age: 18
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 1st round (No. 13)
Shoots: Right
Ht: 5-10  Wt: 181
Contract Expires: N/A

Nazar can move and has really good hands. And the good news: he’s headed to the University of Michigan to begin his college career this fall. He isn’t as tall as Reichel but he’ll have plenty of future NHL talent around him in Ann Arbor to work on his game. This is a really nice addition to a pipeline that desperately needed some high-end skill.

4. Ian Mitchell, D

Age: 23
Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft — 2nd round (No. 57)
Shoots: Right
Ht: 5-11  Wt: 173
Contract Expires: 2023

Yes, I’m still clinging to Mitchell in the top four. He played top minutes in Rockford last season and every indication is that his game showed progress across the board. We’re hoping to see more of Mitchell in the NHL lineup this coming season, and the Blackhawks will have plenty of bodies to take up the minutes in Rockford if he does.

5. Alex Vlasic, D

Age: 21
Acquired: 2019 NHL Draft — 2nd round (No. 43)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-6  Wt: 211
Contract Expires: 2024

Vlasic was one of the more impressive players at the development camp. He showed some eye-catching skill offensively and also played a mature defensive game. Of course, he was the only player in camp who had seen NHL minutes, but with his size and ability he could make a case for minutes at the United Center soon, too.

6. Drew Commesso, G

Age: 20
Acquired: 2020 NHL Draft — 2nd round (No. 46)
Ht: 6-2  Wt: 180
Contract Expires: N/A

There’s no question who the top goaltending prospect is in the organization, but Commesso is one of the top prospects at the position in the college ranks as well. He performed well in the Olympics against professionals and had a nice week at the development camp. We can’t wait for him to get ready for prime time and take over the crease in Chicago.

7. Alec Regula, D

Age: Turns 22 on Aug. 6
Acquired: via trade from Detroit for F Brendan Perlini (Oct. 28, 2019)
Shoots: Right
Ht: 6-4  Wt: 208
Contract Expires: 2023

Again, the Blackhawks have size for days on the blue line. Regula looked good in his limited action at the NHL level last year and, with Vlasic, could be in the wings waiting for a veteran to be dealt at some point during the season.

8. Landon Slaggert, F

Age: 20
Acquired: 2020 NHL Draft — 3rd round (No. 79)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-0  Wt: 182
Contract Expires: N/A

We had Slaggert at 13 in our previous rankings, but seeing him work on the top line as an alternate captain for the United States adjusted our thinking. He plays a strong net-front game and grinds defensively. Over the weekend we took time to look at how he sets up in his “office” around the net. He looks like a solid middle-six forward who could be an asset for the Blackhawks soon.

9. Aidan Thompson, C

Age: 20
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 3rd round (No. 90)
Shoots: L
Ht: 5-11  Wt: 181
Contract Expires: N/A

For me, Thompson was one of the stars of the development camp. An over-age pick in the third round of the 2022 draft, his game compared favorably to Slaggert — who has already played two seasons of college hockey at Notre Dame. There’s a lot to like about Thompson’s game. He’ll join the defending NCAA champions at the University of Denver this fall.

10. Paul Ludwinski, C

Age: 18
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 2nd round (No. 39)
Shoots: L
Ht: 5-11  Wt: 183
Contract Expires: N/A

More speed and skill. Ludwinski was the Hawks’ first pick in the second round of the 2022 draft and he showed really good wheels and hands in the development camp. He caught the eye of many scouts skating with Kingston in the OHL; they were there to watch Shane Wright but got a lot to consider in Ludwinski.

11. Ethan Del Mastro, D

Age: 19
Acquired: 2021 NHL Draft — 4th round (No. 105)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-4  Wt: 209
Contract Expires: 2025

Though Del Mastro didn’t initially make the WJC roster for Canada, he was a last-minute invite to join the gold medal-winning team because of an injury. He threw his weight around all over the ice and did a nice job when called upon. Though he was initially listed as a second-pair guy in the lineups, he often skated minutes assigned to a third-pair or extra defenseman but was good when on the ice. He moves up one spot from our previous rankings.

12. Isaak Phillips, D

Age: 20
Acquired: 2020 NHL Draft — 5th round (No. 141)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-3  Wt: 205
Contract Expires: 2024

Phillips gets a slight bump up from our previous rankings. He played top-pair minutes with Mitchell in Rockford last year and saw some limited NHL action as well. There’s a lot to like about Phillips’ game, especially his size and skating ability. If Mitchell leaves for the NHL, he’ll get a lot of minutes in Rockford again.

13. Colton Dach, C

Age: 19
Acquired: 2021 NHL Draft — 2nd round (No. 62)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-4  Wt: 205
Contract Expires: 2025

Yes, it was awkward for Colton Dach to come to Chicago just a few days after his older brother was traded to Montreal. But he’s already signed and will get a chance to create his own place in the organization moving forward. He looked like a strong, physical power forward at development camp.

14. Wyatt Kaiser, D

Age: Turns 20 on July 31
Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft — 3rd round (No. 81)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-0  Wt: 173
Contract Expires: N/A

Kaiser’s two-goal game for the United States at the WJC got him some new attention, but his shot was lethal throughout the tournament (Slaggert redirected one for a goal). Assistant GM of Development Mark Eaton singled out Kaiser during the Blackhawks’ development camp when praising a few prospects during the camp, saying “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.”

15. Sam Rinzel, D

Age: 18
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 1st round (No. 25)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 6-4  Wt: 181
Contract Expires: N/A

You don’t see many right-handed defensemen who skate like Rinzel, handle the puck well and bring offense to the table. But he’s going to spend this coming season in the USHL and then plans to attend the University of Minnesota to continue developing after playing high school hockey in Minnesota. He’s a lottery ticket, but showed some flashes of potential at development camp.

16. Jalen Luypen, LW

Age: 20
Acquired: 2021 NHL Draft — 7th round (No. 216)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 5-10  Wt: 160
Contract Expires: 2024

Since our previous rankings, the Blackhawks signed Luypen to his entry-level deal. He wasn’t able to participate in the Hawks’ development camp because of an injury sustained during the CHL playoffs, but he’s coming of a marvelous season. He scored 29 goals with 35 assists for 64 points in 66 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL. He added nine points in 19 postseason contests. If he makes it to the NHL it would be a terrific story; he was the 216th of 224 players selected in the 2021 draft. He moves up one spot from our previous rankings.

17. Dominic James, C

Age: 20
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 6th round (No. 173)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 5-11  Wt: 165
Contract Expires: N/A

James was only in our honorable mention section last time, but we were even more impressed with his play at the WJC than we were in the limited scrimmages and drills at the development camp. He was one of the fastest skaters in the tournament (according to the IIHF data) and finished the tournament second overall with a 63.79 faceoff win percentage. Wheels and he can win draws? Sign me up! He’s headed back to Minnesota-Duluth for a sophomore season.

18. Samuel Savoie, LW

Age: 18
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 3rd round (No. 81)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 5-10  Wt: 190
Contract Expires: N/A

This kid brings a lot of swagger and some smack to the ice. He compared himself to Brad Marchand and you can see it when he’s on the ice. He’s always smiling, sometimes mischievously. If you’re excited about the Blackhawks signing Max Domi, keep an eye on Savoie in the future.

19. Jakub Galvas, D

Age: 23
Acquired: 2017 NHL Draft — 5th round (No. 150)
Shoots: Left
Ht: 5-11  Wt: 161
Contract Expires: 2023

Galvas made his NHL debut last season, appearing in six games with the Blackhawks. In 59 games with Rockford in his first full professional season, Galvas scored twice with 18 assists. He’s another late-round pick who has caught the organization’s eye with his strong play on the ice.

20. Gavin Hayes, LW

Age: 18
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft — 3rd round (No. 66)
Shoots: Right
Ht: 6-2  Wt: 176
Contract Expires: N/A

Hayes scored 19 goals in 65 games for Flint in the OHL last season and quietly had a nice development camp. He has better size than most of the other forwards drafted in 2022 but still brings plenty of speed to the ice. He scored twice in four games for the US at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last season, so he has some international experience on his resume as well.

Just Missed

Ryan Greene, C
Ilya Safonov, C
MacKenzie Entwistle, F
Nolan Allan, D
Victor Stjernborg, C
Arvid Söderblom, G
Cole Guttman, F
Taige Harding, D
Connor Kelley, D
Michal Teplý, F
Josiah Slavin, F
Louis Crevier, D



Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab