Seth's Shot, Nazar Back to Ann Arbor? More Prospect Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Seth’s Shot, Nazar Back to Ann Arbor? More Prospect Updates, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

We’ve reached All-Star Weekend, which means there will be some “hockey” being played. Seth Jones will take the ice on behalf of the Blackhawks. We learned last night that Seth will participate in the Hardest Shot competition during tonight’s Skill Challenge showcase. Let’s see what he’s got!

  • As a public service announcement, I’ll be joining the crew on “The Point” on NHL Network Radio on Sirius/XM at 12:30 PM CT today. Listen in if you’re a subscriber!
  • Earlier this week, Michigan head coach Brandon Naurato said Blackhawks’ prospect Frank Nazar is working his way back and they’re optimistic that he could join the team this season. Yesterday, Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about the Blackhawks’ plan for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

โ€œWe just want to make sure heโ€™s 100% and not rushing back,โ€ said Mark Eaton, the Hawksโ€™ assistant general manager who oversees player development. โ€œIf he is [healthy] and able to play, thatโ€™s just an added bonus. But our main concern is making sure the hip is feeling good and heโ€™s ready to have a great summer.โ€

Either way, the Hawks are leaning toward sending Nazar back to Michigan in 2023-24, pushing his rookie pro season to 2024-25.

โ€œWhether he plays games for Michigan this year or not, it would be a hard transition for him to go right to the pro level,โ€ Eaton said. โ€œMy thoughts at this point are that he certainly could benefit from a full year of college hockey next year.โ€

  • For those worrying about another college season, a) next year would give him a first full season of college hockey, and b) Michigan has had other high-profile picks, including No. 1 overall pick Owen Power, go back to school for an additional season. Heck, Luke Hughes is currently playing for the Wolverines after he was the fourth overall pick and he’s dominating. I don’t see this as a setback for Nazar as much as the Blackhawks taking a cautious approach to the development of a talented, skilled forward.
  • Eaton also talked about Gavin Hayes, a third-round pick by the Blackhawks who is having a terrific season.

โ€œHe has a way of getting involved offensively,โ€ Eaton said. โ€œ[Heโ€™s a] very smart player. As he adds some power and strength, that should help quicken up those first couple strides that will allow him to play at the pace expected of him at the next level.โ€

  • I missed this update on Blackhawks prospect and Notre Dame forward Ryder Rolston this weekend, but it’s unfortunate news. Rolston, 21, had a nice prospect camp earlier this summer and was having a solid junior season at Notre Dame. Chicago acquired Rolston from Colorado in the 2021 trade that sent Carl Soderberg to the Avs. He was originally drafted by the Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
  • Jon Morosi, who contributes to both hockey and baseball coverage all over the wonderful world of sports media (and is great at both), is covering Michigan hockey this weekend. He reminded us just how well Adam Fantilli is playing as a freshman in Ann Arbor this year. Could Fantilli become the third frosh to win the Hobey Baker? His teammate Luke Hughes might not want to share it, even with a teammate…
  • We haven’t heard much from Colton Dach since seeing him, arm in sling, on the ice celebrating Canada’s gold medal at the World Juniors. He made a celebrity guest appearance in Kelowna yesterday to appreciate his place on the wall. As a reminder, Kelowna traded their former captain to Seattle, where he’ll theoretically be teammates with Nolan Allan and Kevin Korchinski at some point.
  • Finally, it’s February 3rd. Which means it’s 2/3/23. So… let’s celebrate all over the city of Chicago!

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