Tyler Out (Again), Davidson Talks Trade Deadline, Richardson Connecting With His Roster, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Tyler Out (Again), Davidson Talks Trade Deadline, Richardson Connecting With His Roster, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Los Angeles Kings came into the United Center and skated circles around the Blackhawks for almost a full 60 minutes. If not for Ian Mitchell‘s goal — saving a rough night for the young defenseman — a guy who got pulled because of his performance after 39 seconds on Saturday would have pitched a shutout. It was a harsh reminder that these Blackhawks are still chasing lottery balls as much as wins this season.

  • Right off the jump a couple health-related updates this morning. After Sunday night’s loss, Tyler Johnson was seen in a walking boot. Head coach Luke Richardson said he aggravated his ankle sprain again and is doubtful to make the trip with the team this week. Alex Stalock will also not make the trip; Jaxson Stauber will stay up with the NHL club for the time being. The Blackhawks aren’t practicing on Monday so we’ll see who gets the call from Rockford to help the forward group… unless they give Boris Katchouk another go. Remember Boris Katchouk? Yeah, he’s still here.
  • With Sunday’s loss, the Blackhawks are back “up” to third in the NHL Draft Lottery standings. However, they have games in-hand on dead-last Columbus (one) and Anaheim (two). This three-game trip to western Canada could “help” the Blackhawks in their quest for Connor Bedard.
  • Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson joined the guys on the pregame show to talk about a lot of things, but mostly the futures of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. GMKD said he expects to sit down with the two stars and their agent in the next couple weeks. But it was his casual throw-in that Brisson has other clients on Davidson’s payroll that got my attention.
  • I’ve written a lot about how head coach Luke Richardson is fostering a really strong culture in the room this season. I love how he works with this roster; he and his assistants have said a few times that they knew what they were getting into this season (read: losses) but the positivity has never left the bench. This is a pretty strong collection of individuals on the roster as well. This comment from Richardson before Sunday night’s game says a lot about how close this roster has become.
  • Richardson praised the play of Sam Lafferty before Sunday’s game. The veteran forward has really come into his own in Chicago after struggling to get any kind of regular run in Pittsburgh; if you recall, Davidson stole him from the Penguins in a deal for Alex Nylander. He’s spent time all over the Blackhawks’ lineup this season, and his speed has been a factor almost every night.

“That becomes contagious on a team, not just skating but playing like a team, playing together after whistles, everybody’s in the scrums and maybe dictating a little bit of that physical play, too,” Richardson said. “I saw him take a few runs at their defensemen, and he’s a big guy that can skate. It makes you feel a little uneasy back there when a guy like that’s coming. He’s quiet; he doesn’t get into verbal battles with guys on the ice. He’s just all business, and I like everything about his game right now.”

  • One of the relationships Richardson has done a masterful job in cultivating has been with his captain. Some wondered if the Blackhawks’ leader would buy into the new head coach. He has, completely. And we keep hearing little comments from the two along the way that tell us how well they get along.
  • Before last night’s game, the good people at JFresh shared the best and worst goaltenders in Goals Saved Above Expected. While there aren’t many surprises on either list, Chicago’s Petr Mrazek ranks 79th out of 87 goaltenders in the stat. While that isn’t ideal, it’s a reminder of why I have referred to the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation as tank insurance since July.

Prospect Watch

  • Kevin Korchinski scored a goal for the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday night. He now has five goals and 32 assists for 37 points in 28 games. Fellow Blackhawks draft pick Nolan Allan, who was traded to join him in Seattle earlier this year, has 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 30 games between Prince Albert and Seattle. The Thunderbirds are in first place in the US Division of the WHL.
  • Sam Rinzel, the Blackhawks’ third pick in the first round last summer, is having a really nice season for Waterloo in the USHL this season. He’s up to 20 points (4 goals, 16 assists) in 29 games. As a reminder, he’s committed to play at the University of Minnesota next year. So he’s headed to a top college program to continue his development.
  • Gavin Hayes is up to 24 goals with 19 assists in 42 games for the Flint Firebirds in the OHL this season. He’s been on fire lately and his stock is rising.
  • Ryan Greene‘s 20 points are tied for third on the Boston University roster. And he’s done it in 21 games, making him almost a point-per-game player in Hockey East as a true freshman. He’s opening a lot of eyes with his play this season.
  • And Aidan Thompson has been an impact player as a 20-year-old freshman at Denver since entering the lineup; his summer injury resulted in a delay the start of his collegiate career. He, too, is almost a point-per-game player (17 points in 18 games) for the Pioneers this season.
  • Finally, the Cubs landed one of the big four shortstops on the free agent market this winter. And one of their other free agent additions confidently said they got the best one over the weekend.

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