It’s been almost a full month of the NHL regular season and we’ve had plenty of time to see how prospects have performed in juniors, college, European leagues and the AHL. So now, with the Blackhawks having four days off between games, feels like a good time to reassess our prospect rankings in the organization.
There are four prospects I’m not going to include in our November update: defenseman Ian Mitchell, forward Jalen Luypen, Michigan freshman Frank Nazar and Denver freshman Aidan Thompson. Neither NCAA forward has played in a collegiate game this season because of injuries, Luypen is still rehabbing and Mitchell is just now working his way back from a preseason write injury. I still have high hopes for both forwards and Mitchell, but their lack of ice time makes it impossible to gauge where they could/should rank at this time.
Also, I’m graduating three prospects from consideration here. Defenseman Filip Roos, forward MacKenzie Entwistle and goaltender Arvid Söderblom aren’t ranked or in our honorable mention area because of their NHL play this season. Söderblom is clearly the No. 1 goaltender in the system while Roos and Entwistle have been on the NHL roster all season.
1. Kevin Korchinski, LHD
The seventh overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft showed so well during the summer prospect camps and showcase that his performance against NHL competition was reassuring that he’s the goods. After putting up 65 points in 67 games for Seattle (WHL) last season, the hope was that his confidence after the draft and working in Chicago would carry over. It has; Korchinski has 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 11 games.
2. Lukas Reichel, LW
Even though his performance when Scott Powers of The Athletic watched him last week left Powers wanting more, the numbers have been solid for Reichel in his sophomore professional season. Reichel, 20, has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in nine games for the IceHogs to start the season. Powers was right that there’s a lot of work to do for Reichel still, especially on the defensive end of the ice, but his offensive production has been there.
3. Ethan Del Mastro, LHD
I was supremely high on Del Mastro after a summer in which he joined the Canadian WJC team late and showed well for the Blackhawks in a development camp and prospect showcase before playing fairly well in preseason games against NHL competition. He’s the captain in Mississauga again this season and is averaging a point-per-game (12 points in 12 games). He’s a big, physical defenseman who has a bright upside.
4. Alex Vlasic, LHD
Vlasic went to Rockford to start his first full professional season while Filip Roos got a spot on the Blackhawks’ blue line. Vlasic has two assists in the first nine games of the season for the IceHogs. His big frame and composed play looked good next to Seth Jones during preseason games; getting regular ice time in Rockford will help him be ready for the NHL soon.
5. Jakub Galvas, LHD
Galvas saw action in nine NHL games last season and had a strong, productive season in the AHL last season. He’s started this season with one goal and eight assists in eight games for the IceHogs. Unlike so many of the prospects in the Blackhawks’ system, Galvas (5-11, 161) isn’t a big body.
6. Gavin Hayes, RW
Hayes was a third-round pick (No. 66) by the Blackhawks this past summer and had good camps in Chicago. He’s returned to Flint (OHL) and started his junior season very well. He’s posted eight goals and nine assists in 16 games.
7. Dominic James, C
James, a sixth-round pick (No. 173) this past summer, had a nice WJC for the US and has carried that over to his sophomore season at Minnesota-Duluth. He leads the Bulldogs with six points in ten games.
8. Wyatt Kaiser, LHD
Kaiser, a teammate of James at Minnesota-Duluth, has four points in nine games. He, too, played well with the US squad at the World Juniors. It hasn’t been the start to the season they wanted at Minnesota-Duluth, but the Blackhawks’ two prospects have been productive.
9. Alec Regula, RHD
Regula is with the Blackhawks right now with Seth Jones on the shelf and has appeared in two games (that were spread apart by a couple weeks) at the NHL level this season. He scored two goals in four games with the IceHogs before he was recalled to Chicago. Regula, like Vlasic, is a long defenseman who eats up space with a big reach. He has some work to do and will likely be back in Rockford when Seth returns from IR.
10. Ilya Safonov, C
Safonov, 21, was a sixth-round pick (No. 172) by the Blackhawks in the 2021 NHL Draft. He’s already matched his career-high with 12 points and set a new career-best of nine goals in 24 games with Kazan Ak-Bars in the KHL; he had 12 points in 43 games last season. The big question here is if/when/how the Blackhawks get him into the North American game considering the political issues with Russia.
11. Colton Dach, C
I should put an asterisk on Dach’s ranking because a second concussion has limited him to four games with Kelowna (WHL) this season; he just returned from the second concussion this weekend. He has one goal and three assists in four games as the captain of the Rockets this year. He had a great summer and I’m hoping he can stay healthy the rest of the way so we can better gauge how much he’s improved from last year.
12. Ryder Rolston, RW
Rolston, who was acquired from Colorado in 2020, leads Notre Dame with nine points (four goals, five assists) in ten games this season. So much of our focus in South Bend has been on Landon Slaggert that Rolston has occasionally become a forgotten prospect. He had a good summer development camp in Chicago, however, and his play this season has made him intriguing.
13. Landon Slaggert, LW
Slaggert has only two assists in ten games for Notre Dame to start the season. I would have loved to see more offense from him thus far, but he’s been chipping in defensively for the Irish; he has been credited with eight blocked shots. I still like Slaggert as a bottom-six forward who could fit well with guys like Jason Dickinson and Sam Lafferty in Chicago at some point down the road.
14. Dominic Basse, G
Yeah, I’m pushing Basse to the top of the prospect rankings among goalies because he’s been terrific to start this season. The Blackhawks selected Basse in the sixth round (No. 167) in the 2019 NHL Draft and, after two disappointing seasons at Colorado College, he transferred to St. Cloud State and has been a standout this season. He’s won all four of his starts and has a .945 save percentage.
15. Drew Commesso, G
Commesso got shelled at Michigan earlier this season and missed some time but has come back well. He’s allowed nine goals in three starts, but six of those came in Ann Arbor; Commesso has wins in his other two appearances this season. It’s good that he isn’t the only goaltender on our list this time, but I would like for his junior campaign to have started stronger.
16. Ryan Greene, C
Greene is Commesso’s teammate at Boston University and has enjoyed a solid start to his freshman season. He has five points in seven games four blocked shots to his credit. The Blackhawks selected Greens in the second round (No. 57) in the 2022 NHL Draft.
17. Paul Ludwinski, C
Ludwinski, also a second-round pick (No. 39) in the 2022 NHL Draft, got off to a late start to his season with Kingston (OHL) because of a concussion he suffered during the prospect showcase games against Minnesota. He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his first 11 games this season.
18. Taige Harding, LHD
Harding was recently named the Hockey East Defenseman of the Week at Providence where he’s having a solid sophomore season. He’s another massive defenseman (listed at 6-7 and 238 pounds) who towers over opponents. Harding has five points (one goal, four assists) and six blocked shots in nine games.
19. Samuel Savoie, LW
Savoie was the talk of the summer at the various Blackhawks prospect and preseason skates. The 81st overall pick (third round) of the 2022 NHL Draft was this summer’s Andrew Shaw, annoying opponents and making plays all over the ice. He’s started his junior season with Gatineau (QMJHL) with five goals and two assists — with 24 penalty minutes — in 13 games.
20. Artur Kayumov, LW/RW
Kayumov, 24, was a second-round pick all the way back in 2016 (two years before the Blackhawks drafted Philipp Kurashev). He’s still in Russia and there are questions if/when he’ll ever come over, but Chicago still controls his rights. He’s off to a nice start to his season with Lokomotiv (KHL) with five goals and 11 assists in 25 games.
Isaak Phillips, LHD, Rockford (AHL)
Jake Wise, C, Ohio State (Big Ten)
Nolan Allan, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
Sam Rinzel, RHD, Waterloo (USHL)
Connor Kelley, RHD, Providence (Hockey East)
Victor Stjernborg, C, Växjö (SHL)
Cole Guttman, C, Rockford (AHL)
Michal Teplý, F, Rockford (AHL)
Josiah Slavin, C, Rockford (AHL)
Louis Crevier, RHD, Rockford (AHL)