February Updates to our BN Blackhawks Top 20 Prospect Rankings
The last time we updated our rankings of the Blackhawks’ top prospects was in early December. Since then, we’ve watched a handful of them participate in the World Junior Championship. Unfortunately, Colton Dach‘s season took a turn in the wrong direction with an injury suffered in the tournament.
Chicago’s prospects in the college ranks have largely performed very well this season. Trades moved a few of the Blackhawks’ prospects to new cities and opportunities in juniors as well. With all of that movement and starting a new month in a new year, let’s update the rankings for the beginning of February.
1. Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle (WHL)
As a top-ten pick, hopes were that Korchinski would dominate in another season in the WHL. That has absolutely happened; he’s posted 40 points in 30 games. Seattle made some big trades to make a deep playoff run this season — including the addition of Blackhawks prospects Nolan Allan and Colton Dach.
2. Lukas Reichel, C, Rockford (AHL)
Reichel saw some more run with the Blackhawks in the NHL while Patrick Kane was out of the lineup and took full advantage of the opportunity. He certainly looks ready for the NHL whenever the Blackhawks give him the full-time call. He’s the most NHL-ready forward prospect in the Blackhawks’ organization.
3. Ethan Del Mastro, LHD, Sarnia (OHL)
Del Mastro took a big step forward in the eyes of many with his performance on Canada’s top pair in the World Juniors. He was an assistant captain for the gold medal-winning team. Since he was traded to Sarnia, Del Mastro has nine points in seven games. He had 21 points in 22 games for Mississauga before they traded their captain.
4. Ryan Greene, C, Boston University (NCAA)
As a true, teenage freshman at BU, Greene’s stock has skyrocketed this season. He’s scored six goals with 15 assists in 23 games. He’s tied for fourth on the Terriers with 21 points.
5. Gavin Hayes, RW, Flint (OHL)
Hayes has been absolute fire for Flint over the past couple months. He’s up to 45 points (24 goals, 21 assists) in 45 games and is looking like a steal for a third-round pick. Hayes is the “other guy” the Blackhawks got with the two picks in the Kirby Dach trade; Frank Nazar will hopefully come back this season for Michigan.
6. Aidan Thompson, C, Denver (NCAA)
Thompson’s season started late because of the injury he suffered in camp before the World Juniors, but he’s become a big part of the DU lineup. He’s up to 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) in 19 games. Thompson is plus-10 with one game-winning goal and one power play goal. You can watch the game-winner below.
7. Alex Vlasic, LHD, Rockford (AHL)
Vlasic missed some time because of an injury but has bounced back and is playing well for the IceHogs. He has one goal and seven assists in 31 games in his first full professional season. He might not get a call-up this season as the Blackhawks’ front office is intentionally giving him the opportunity to play bigger minutes in Rockford, but he showed well enough in Chicago last year that I’m excited for his NHL arrival.
8. Isaak Phillips, LHD, Rockford (AHL)
Phillips has now appeared in 11 games with the Blackhawks this season, registering four points in the NHL. He’s been rock solid in Rockford as well, putting up 17 points in 28 games. If the Blackhawks move out multiple defensemen before the trade deadline, he might get another long look in the NHL later this year.
9. Sam Savoie, LW, Gatineau (QMJHL)
Another third-round pick by the Blackhawks who is out-performing his draft status this season in the QMJHL. Chicago fell in love with this “Andrew Shaw-lite” player during training camp and he’s continued to be good all over the ice for Gatineau. He’s scored 20 goals with 23 assists in 39 games this season.
10. Drew Commesso, G, Boston University (NCAA)
Lately, Commesso has taken a big step forward with his play and BU is climbing the national rankings because of it. His weekend performance against Boston College was stellar, maybe the best of the season for him. He’s had a couple clunkers this season but has been strong overall.
11. Wyatt Kaiser, LHD, Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)
The Bulldogs’ season hasn’t been what they had hoped for but Kaiser has been good. He’s a mature defender who I expect the Blackhawks to offer a contract when his season at UMD comes to a close. He has 11 points in 24 games this season.
12. Paul Ludwinski, C, Kingston (OHL)
Ludwinski suffered a concussion that cost him all of training camp and delayed his start in Kingston, but he’s bounced back and performed pretty well this season. After trades, the Frontenacs made him their captain. Ludwinski has 30 points in 40 games this season.
13. Dominic James, C, Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)
The Blackhawks drafted James in the sixth round of the 2022 NHL Draft after completing his freshman season at UMD. He’s second on the Bulldogs with 18 points in 24 games, including one game-winning goal, two power-play goals and the shortie below.
14. Dominic Basse, G, St. Cloud State (NCAA)
Basse, a junior in his first season as St. Cloud State, has been magnificent this season. Originally drafted by the Blackhawks in the sixth round in 2019, he has a .923 save percentage for one of the top teams in the country. Basse has been splitting starts with Jaxon Castor and the tandem has been great. He’s up for the top goalie award in the country this season.
15. Cole Guttman, C, Rockford (AHL)
Guttman’s first professional season has been great. He’s scored 13 goals with 12 assists in 34 games. Every time the Blackhawks have wanted/needed a forward from Rockford, his name has come up. I would love to see him get some NHL run this season, but he’s been good enough with the IceHogs that the Blackhawks might leave him in the AHL for the duration to help their playoff run.
16. Sam Rinzel, RHD, Waterloo (USHL)
As this season has progressed, Rinzel has asserted himself more and is now looking like the player Chicago used a first-round pick on this past summer. He has five goals and 17 assists in 31 games for Waterloo this season. He’s committed to play at the University of Minnesota next year; the Gophers are the No. 1 team in the country right now. He’s a few years away, but his development is worth watching.
17. Victor Stjernborg, C, Växjö (SHL)
Stjernborg’s season has been the tale of three teams. In Sweden, he’s struggled this year; he was demoted to Växjö’s U20 team where he has two assists in two games after having just four assists in 29 games with the big club. He was named the captain of Sweden’s team at the World Juniors, however, and played well on the top three lines during the tournament. He’s an intriguing center who was drafted in the fourth round in 2021 by the Blackhawks.
18. Colton Dach, C, Seattle (WHL)
I hate that Dach is this low. He suffered a concussion during training camp in Chicago but was cleared in time to have a nice preseason debut against NHL players. He suffered a second concussion after being named the captain in Kelowna that cost him some games, but he had 17 points in 14 games before joining Canada in a fourth-line role at the World Juniors. But an ugly shoulder injury ended his tournament and he hasn’t skated since. Kelowna traded his rights to Seattle, where he joined Allan and Korchinski, but he hasn’t dressed for them yet.
19. Ilya Safonov, C, Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)
A sixth-round pick in 2021, Safonov will turn 21 at the end of May. He’s a big center (6-3, 205) who has 25 points in 53 games in the KHL — Russia’s top level. The whole Russia thing complicates his future, but he’s a guy lots of international scouts really like.
20. Landon Slaggert, LW, Notre Dame (NCAA)
Slaggert has played through injuries this season and his numbers reflect that; he has just eight points in 26 games with the Fighting Irish. He showed very well as an assistant captain with USA Hockey at the World Juniors in August, however, and I believe the Blackhawks will still look to sign him when Notre Dame’s season ends.
Jaylen Luypen, C, Tri-City (WHL)
Nolan Allan, LHD, Seattle (WHL)
Jake Wise, C, Ohio State (Big Ten)
Nils Juntorp, LW, Dubuque (USHL)
Ryder Rolston, RW, Notre Dame (B1G)
Taige Harding, LHD, Providence (Hockey East)
Josiah Slavin, C, Rockford (AHL)
Artur Kayumov, LW/RW, Lokomotiv (KHL)