Roster Crunch Coming, Top Line Struggles, College Prospects in Action, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Monday was an off day for the Blackhawks and their early morning roster moves only included three players, so practice today will still have a lot of bodies to sort through. The coaches have a lot to work out still with only two remaining preseason games — and the regular season begins in eight days. With a better idea of who’s fighting for a spot in the NHL, I’ll be watching to see how some of the special teams units look this week and who skates on which lines before Thursday night’s game.

  • Yesterday I took a look at how some analysts’ statistical models are projecting the Blackhawks to finish this season. While you should read that piece and dig into the research that went into said projections, we’ll spoil it and let you know they weren’t favorable. But… that’s kinda the point this year.
  • That’s the point because of the player(s) at the top of the draft board in 2023. And, at the top of a really good, talented list is Connor Bedard — arguably the best prospect since Connor McDavid. So this morning we welcomed Blackhawks fans to one of our new features this year: the Bad 4 Bedard Circle of Trust.
  • Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a good piece about the disconnect on what is supposed to be the Blackhawks’ top line. The Blackhawks’ two new additions are deferring to 88 way too much, and the line is struggling to find shots on net — much less goals. It’s still a work in progress, but the season starts next week.
  • This serves as your regular reminder that sometimes it takes truly special players to skate with a generational talent like Patrick Kane. Not every player can keep up with the ridiculous way Kane plays/sees the game. Which is what makes you miss/appreciate Artemi Panarin and Alex DeBrincat’s tenures in Chicago that much more.
  • There’s an updated USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine college poll out and some teams with Blackhawks prospects made moves.
  • The biggest jump up the rankings came from Ohio State, who moved up to No. 14 this week. Through two games for the Buckeyes, Jake Wise has one goal, one assist and he’s won 39 of 50 faceoffs (78 percent!) — a really good start. The Buckeyes have had 138 total faceoffs, meaning Wise is taking 36 percent of the team’s draws thus far.
  • Yeah, it’s only been one weekend of college hockey. But Blackhawks prospect Ryan Greene is already stacking up the honors in Hockey East. The Hawks’ second-round pick (No. 57) in the 2022 NHL Draft scored twice in his collegiate debut and was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Week. Congrats, Ryan!
  • Landon Slaggert and his Notre Dame teammates played an exhibition against the US National Development Team over the weekend. The Irish lost 5-3, but there was a fun moment after the game caught on camera.
  • That’s Landon giving Carter Slaggert a hug after the game. Carter, 17, had two blocked shots in the game. He’s a 2005 birth year player, so his draft is still coming. Their older brother, Graham, was one of the three captains at Notre Dame last year and is going to skate with the Toronto Marlies this season.
  • From Sunday in Milwaukee, this one warmed our hearts. Troy Murray’s daughter was able to spend some time with him in the booth with the Blackhawks playing closer to her home in Wisconsin. Troy’s the absolute best and it’s been great to see him around the rink(s) this preseason.
  • Finally, I’m gonna just leave this one in the “things we love to see” category.
  • 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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