Tab and Patrick’s Takeaways From the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase

Our Blackhawks crew was at the Fifth Third Arena this week to watch the Blackhawks’ prospects practice and then play two games against the Minnesota Wild’s prospects. Chicago lost 5-2 on Friday night but picked up a strong — dare we say dominant — 5-0 win on Sunday in the matinee finale.

There was a lot to take in, and this was a week that had some interesting names on the rosters for both sides. Here are some impressions the players made on Tab and Patrick this week on the ice.

Tab’s Takeaways

  • The Davidson Plan is clearly going to take time to fully implement, but you can see it coming. When I say “The Davidson Plan,” I’m referring to the new general manager — Kyle Davidson — making this an organization full of players who play the game the way he and his staff want. It was obvious both at development camp and this week at the prospect showcase which players are “Davidson guys” and which guys have some work to do. Speed and compete are going to be the calling cards of the Chicago Blackhawks moving forward and if you don’t do both, you might not last here.
  • Man, I was really bummed that Colton Dach only skated one period in the showcase. He looked faster and stronger on his skates over the couple days of practice and was in a great spot to put up some numbers on the top line with Lukas Reichel and Gavin Hayes to start the two games, but he skated just the one period on Friday night and was placed in concussion protocol. Here’s hoping he can get healthy and have a full season.
  • I was interested to see how Cole Guttman looked on the ice against some top picks and other top prospects this week. He was a seventh-round pick by the Lightning and didn’t get a contract from Tampa despite being the captain of the national championship team at Denver. He answered my questions with an exclamation point with goals in both games and a really good couple days of practice.
  • Paul Ludwinski was a lot of fun to watch this week. He plays with the kind of pace Davidson has talked about and also has a lot of grit. Unfortunately he was involved in a nasty collision behind the net early in Sunday afternoon’s game and left the ice but he seemed to always be on or around the puck in every zone.
  • Watching the players on the ice during practice and again during the game, it’s clear that Davidson is placing a premium on BIG defensemen who can skate and size isn’t necessarily a must-have up front. Six of the eight defensemen in this camp were at least 6-3 while the majority of the forwards were six feet and under. Guys like Alex Vlasic and Louis Crevier towered over teammates opponents alike.
  • I have had an eye on one of those tall defensemen, Ethan Del Mastro, since the start of the summer after he inked his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks earlier this year. This week was his second stop in Chicago this year with a gold medal at the World Juniors in between. His confidence was clearly way up with the gold medal at home this week, and he did a nice job on the blue line with Filip Roos most of the week. He picked up Chicago’s second goal on Sunday and skated heavy minutes again in the second game of the showcase.
  • Patrick’s Takeaways

  • Two players on the Blackhawks roster stood out as far and away better than the rest of the group this weekend: Reichel and Kevin Korchinski. Reichel was undoubtedly the most talented player out there on Sunday, which was an excellent way to end the weekend for him after a less-than-inspiring effort on Friday night. Reichel’s skill was on full display in the second period when he undressed the Minnesota penalty kill unit and set Hayes up with an easy goal, marking Reichel’s third assist of the game to that point. Reichel finished the game with four assists and five points on the weekend with his Friday night goal.
  • Reichel should have looked like the best player out there, but it was still essential to see it happen. At this point, there are zero reasons Reichel shouldn’t start the season with the Blackhawks. He’s bigger, stronger, and looks ready. Oh, and he’s entering year-two of his entry-level deal.
  • While Reichel’s AHL and brief NHL experience made his performance seem a fitting must, Korchinski has never sniffed an NHL rink before but he looked like a polished product — head and shoulders above the rest of the kids out there. Korchinski’s speed and skating ability were on display all weekend. It was also impossible to miss that his passing skills and awareness were sharp. It was tape-to-tape pass all weekend for the seventh-overall pick in the draft. Really impressive first taste of Korchinski’s game this summer between the development camp and the Tom Kurvers showcase.
  • Last but certainly not least, Samuel Savoie didn’t do anything spectacular this weekend, but he did most things well all weekend. Anders Sorensen referred to the five-foot-ten, 190-pound Savoie as an Andrew Shaw lite of sorts on Friday night. While I chuckled at first, I found myself repeating Sorensen’s assessment in my head frequently on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Savoie played an essential role on Sunday, helping the Blackhawks neutralize Sam Hentges, a major thorn in the Blackhawks’ side on Friday. Savoie gave Hentges the business all afternoon and treated anyone else who came near him to the same. When I spoke with Savoie on Friday night, he knew that the Blackhawks’ second and third-period efforts weren’t satisfactory, and he played a crucial role in correcting that in Sunday’s win.
  • written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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