There was no hockey in Chicago yesterday. The Blackhawks traveled back from California after taking a long weekend to bond as a team — and why not? The NHL gave them almost a full week off between games 3 and 4 on the schedule, so get out and enjoy life a little! The boys will be back on the ice at the Fifth Third Arena later this morning, however. So back to work for them (and me).
- Yesterday we discussed an interview mega-agent Pat Brisson had with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic about the future of Patrick Kane in Chicago. In that piece I noted that Brisson is one of the power brokers in the NHL; his client list includes seven Blackhawks (Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones among them) and some of the other elite, highly-paid stars in the league. Puck Pedia was kind enough to update their agent leaderboard on Monday to give some dollar values to Brisson’s client roster. And… damn…
- Reconsidering a draft year(s) later can be a fun exercise. And, sometimes, it can be frustrating. But it’s worth looking back at what is and what could have been. On Monday, Corey Pronman at The Athletic looked back just one year at the 2021 NHL Draft class and re-ranked players based on their development and performances to date.
- Six Blackhawks players/prospects were mentioned by Pronman. The first four fell into what Pronman called his “TIER 6: Projected to play NHL games” category (Nos. 32-71 overall). The other two came in “TIER 7: Has a chance to play NHL games.”
- Risers: Colton Dach (No. 38 — picked 62), Ethan Del Mastro (No. 46 — picked 105), Ilya Safonov (No. 66 — picked 172) and Connor Kelley (No. 118 — picked 204) — the three other than Dach being some of the biggest climbers in the entire exercise for Pronman.
- Fallers: Nolan Allan (No. 53 — picked 32), Victor Stjernborg (No. 124 — picked 108).
- Interestingly, Jalen Luypen — the Blackhawks’ seventh-round pick (No. 216) was not mentioned despite having a strong junior season last year and signing his entry-level contract. He is still out because of an injury. Taige Harding was also not mentioned from the Blackhawks’ draft class in 2021.
- The Captain hit the links on the Blackhawks’ off day in California. Nice Caddyshack reference in the caption, but who’s the tremendous slouch? I’m going to leave that up to your interpretation. Toews was joined by Connor Murphy, Philipp Kurashev and Reese Johnson.
- It’s good to see a couple of the young guys busting each other’s chops on the Gram in the comments on Toews’ photos, too.
- One guy not giving Kurashev crap over his slice is Sharks star Timo Meier. Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times shared that Meier worked out with Kurashev this past offseason and thinks the young Blackhawks forward is ready to break out and have a big season (note: I do, too, which you would know if you read my bold predictions).
“He has a really good shot, so once he feels comfortable getting in those areas where he can get the shot off and not overthink things, [he can] just let it rip and give it a chance to go in,’’ Meier told Pope. ‘‘He has an unbelievable skill set. For him, it’s just [about] finding that comfortableness and playing in all three zones. He has a real bright future ahead of him.”
- Some big movement in the college hockey rankings, with Denver falling out of the top spot. However, the Blackhawks have prospects at eight of the top 20 universities this week, including half of the top ten (Denver, Michigan, St. Cloud State, Providence and Minnesota-Duluth).
- Kirby Dach scored two game-winning goals in 152 games with the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored his first with the Montreal Canadiens in overtime on Monday night to send the Pittsburgh Penguins home sad. We love seeing this because, well, more Montreal wins is good for (Chicago) business. (Kirby lost all five of his faceoffs by the way.)
- Why limit our off-night excitement to just one OT GWG from a former Blackhawk? Phillip Danault did it for the Kings last night, too!
- Vancouver’s out here making NHL history in the worst way possible. I’m sure Jason Dickinson easily prefers an off day in California with the Blackhawks to the players-only meeting the Canucks held last night. Poor Riley Stillman!
- Finally, we’re probably going to have to wait a couple years until the Blackhawks go spending, but baseball’s a little different. And it looks like the Cubs might be landing three of the top international prospects in the coming signing period. Love to see it.