Richardson Praise, Re-Ranking the '20 Draft, a Chicago vs Dallas Alumni Game, NHL Releases Diversity and Inclusion Report, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Richardson Praise, Re-Ranking the ’20 Draft, a Chicago vs Dallas Alumni Game, NHL Releases Diversity and Inclusion Report, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks practiced yesterday and we got a few updates, including Alex Vlasic heading to Rockford because Jake McCabe might be ready for the home opener on Friday. How bout them apples? We’ve got a lot more to cover today so let’s jump into the bullets.

  • As we begin appreciating Luke Richardson as a head coach, I continue to hear good things about him from players in other cities / on other teams. Another instance of a former player praising Richardson came out of New York, where Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov had good things to say about their time together in Montreal.
  • Oddly enough, Romanov was traded from Montreal to the Islanders to get the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft that was subsequently traded from the Habs to the Blackhawks for Kirby Dach.
  • After practice I asked Richardson about the start Jonathan Toews has enjoyed this season.
  • When the Blackhawks returned to the ice on Tuesday, something stuck out to the media folks who were watching. Petr Mrazek was wearing different pads than he had in early games for the Blackhawks this season. Apparently he’s going to alternate dark and light at home and on the road this season. The black gear looks good in person.
  • Corey Pronman at The Athletic is re-ranking players from past draft classes. On Tuesday, he took apart and reconstructed the 2020 NHL Draft. This is an especially interesting one for me because that particular class could have a huge impact on the speed with which the Blackhawks rebuild. I’m really high on at least four players selected by the Blackhawks two years ago. Pronman doesn’t quite share the optimism of many on one of the Blackhawks’ prospects, however.
  • Five Blackhawks prospects from their 2020 class made Pronman’s list. Lukas Reichel climbed six spots and fell into Pronman’s “TIER 2: Projected top of the lineup player” area. He specifically said this about Reichel:

The biggest mover is Lukas Reichel, who has looked very good versus men, displaying a well-rounded pro game, and who seems on track to becoming a very good top-six forward in time.

  • Risers: Lukas Reichel (No. 11 β€” picked 17), Wyatt Kaiser (No. 46 — picked 81), Landon Slaggert (No. 74 — picked 79), Isaak Phillips (No. 102 — picked 141)
  • Fallers: Drew Commesso (No. 75 — picked 46)
  • This isn’t the first time Pronman hasn’t given a glowing recommendation of Commesso; he isn’t as high on the Blackhawks’ potential netminder as others. And that’s fine; Commesso got shelled at Michigan on Friday and that’s caused some others to question their card-carrying status on the bandwagon.
  • What’s important to remember is these are one man’s rankings. I happen to consider Pronman very good at what he does, which is why we dig into them. But, again, these are only Pronman’s personal (albeit well informed) perspective. Oh, and four of the five Blackhawks prospects on the list moved up — two of which jumped significantly.
  • We’re going to continue watching the University of Michigan’s team this season because of Adam Fantilli, but it doesn’t sound like we’ll see much (if any) action from Frank Nazar this season. He’s reportedly having surgery and his season might be over already. Which sucks.
  • From the young to the old. The Blackhawks alumni will host the Dallas Stars alumni at the Fifth Third Arena on Saturday night. We have to wonder if Patrick Sharp is going to give the Blackhawks the first and third periods and the second to Dallas’ squad… just kidding. We don’t want to remember his time there, either. General admission tickets are $50 but, for $200, you can take pictures inside the Blackhawks’ dressing room and meet the guys skating on the Chicago side of the event.
  • Here’s the preliminary list of Blackhawks skating in the game: Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour, Adam Burish, Andrew Shaw, Patrick Sharp, Al Secord, Grant Mulvey, Reggie Kerr, Tim Stapleton, Reid Simpson. Not bad! Two Hall of Famers and Secord… maybe we can coax Steve Larmer and Denis Savard to join him?
  • At its Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, the NHL released its first-ever comprehensive report on diversity and inclusion. Two years ago, the league created the Executive Inclusion Council and three subcommittees to focus on improving diversity areas for players, fans and executives around the NHL (and beyond).
  • Since then, the league has seen five women become assistant general managers at the NHL level and San Jose’s Mike Grier became the first Black GM in league history. One of those women is Meghan Hunter, the Blackhawks’ Assistant GM of Hockey Operations.
  • The PDF of the report includes the following about the Blackhawks specifically:
  • The CHL released its new Top Ten for this week and, once again, the Blackhawks have prospects all over the list. Kevin Korchinski and his Seattle Thunderbirds are fourth, Sam Savoie and his Gatineau Olympiques are sixth and one of the risers this week is Ethan Del Mastro‘s Mississauga Steelheads, who are up to eighth.
  • The OHL tweeted out some stats from their league leaders through the weekend, so I went looking at the overall lists. And there was Del Mastro sitting in the second spot in power play assists thus far. In five games to start the season Del Mastro has one goal (a game-winner) and seven assists. He’s been credited with seven shots on net and has piled up 15 penalty minutes already.
  • Finally, yesterday we shared a couple overtime, game-winning goals from former Blackhawks. So today we’ll share a former Cub launching one of the longest home runs of the year off… another former Cub. Kyle Schwarber had the launch codes for Game 1 of the NLCS and Bryce Harper reacted on behalf of all of us.


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