With the World Junior Championship in the books, it’s a good time to look back at how the Blackhawks’ five prospects performed in the tournament.
Obviously Connor Bedard stole the headlines, but the Blackhawks started the tournament with four drafted prospects (all of whom have already signed with the club) on the Canadian roster. We’ll start with the player whose tournament was cut short by injury.
Dach came into the tournament skating in a fourth-line role, not his customary top-six role as the captain of the Kelowna Rockets this season. He picked up two assists in four games and was credited with five shots on net. The fourth game was when he got hurt, so that appearance was limited. He still averaged 10:43 per game was was plus-three in the four games in which he played.
Ethan Del Mastro
Only three skaters in the entire tournament skated more total ice time than Del Mastro, who was on the ice for 149:50 in seven games (21:24). He skated 27:45 in the semifinal win against the United States on Tuesday and then skated 24:32 the next night in the gold medal win. He was an absolute beast skating on Canada’s top pair with Olen Zellwegger. He collected three assists, eight penalty minutes and was plus-three in the tournament. I loved what I saw from him over the summer and he went from the seventh defenseman on Canada’s gold medal-winning team in August into a leader wearing an “A” a few short months later. His growth in the past year has been great.
Korchinski was skating in his first World Juniors and was a bottom-pair defenseman for Canada. In the last two games he skated one shift in each third period. With so many returning players on the roster from their championship in August, that made sense. Still, Korchinski produced when he got on the ice. While averaging barely 10 minutes per game, he still picked up one goal and three assists and was plus-six over the seven games. And, now, he’s a gold medal-winning player.
A bit of a surprise making the roster, Chicago’s first-round pick in 2021 started on the bottom pair with Korchinski but worked his way up to the second pair for Canada quickly in the tournament. There isn’t the same flashy appeal in his game that Korchinski has, but he was a solid defenseman for Canada in the tournament. He averaged 16:27 per game and picked up one goal and one assist. He was plus-seven in the tournament.
Stjernborg was the captain for Sweden in the tournament but he bounced around their lineup. Early in the tournament he was either the third or fourth line center, but he was on the top group in the final two games. He scored a short-handed, game-winning goal against Finland in one of the better games of the tournament.