All-Star Thoughts, Prospect Hype Train Rolling, Lafferty Trade Interest, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
The Blackhawks will take the ice back in Chicago at Fifth Third Arena this afternoon, marking the official end of their collective vacation. They’re back on the ice getting ready for the Anaheim Ducks to visit the United Center on Tuesday night — the Blackhawks’ first game in ten days. Hopefully they’re all well rested because the next 3+ weeks until the trade deadline might be stressful.
- When the dust (snow?) settled after the first game of the All-Star Tournament yesterday, Seth Jones‘ one goal gave him six on his all-star resume, which was tied for the record with Sidney Crosby and Cam Atkinson since the game went to the 3-on-3 format. Unfortunately the Central was no match for the Atlantic in the championship game.
- It was just a little awkward when they introduced Bo Horvat for the Western Conference/Pacific Division… with a New York Islanders logo on the screen behind him. Yeah, it’s weird when a guy gets traded a few days before the All-Star Game and still represents his now-former team. It was equally weird when he set up now-former teammate Elias Pettersson for a goal and sat next to him on the bench. And a packed house got to watch it all in Florida.
- Before the game, the NHL announced the All-Star Game will return to Canada next year. Toronto will be the host city. I attended the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto back in 2016 and it was fabulous (we need Tim Horton’s in Chicago), so I can only imagine the party it’ll be in the home city of the Hockey Hall of Fame. I might need to put this one on my calendar for a road trip in 12 months…
- The biggest and best news for Blackhawks fans over the past couple months has to be the increased value in their organizational depth. After watching the players perform at the two prospect camps over the summer, I was confident this is the fastest collection of talent the Blackhawks have had in at least a decade. But the development we’ve seen over the past months has been tremendous.
- It’s easy for us — Blackhawks fans, analysts, media-types — to overstate the potential of prospects; it’s like bragging about your own kids. And while Stan Bowman was the general manager there was almost always a sizeable gap between the organization’ s perception of its prospects and how outsiders viewed their potential. Now, outsiders are equally impressed and excited about the progress of Chicago’s pool. That should be tremendously exciting.
- On Sunday, Scott Wheeler’s rankings at The Athletic updated with the Blackhawks now ranking among the top-5 in the NHL. And that’s before the Blackhawks theoretically use (at least) four picks in the first two rounds of a deep NHL Draft in 2023. The Blackhawks could add more picks when they start moving players between now and the trade deadline, which arrives in less than four weeks. This climb ain’t done, y’all.
- Frank Seravalli rolled out his profile of another potential trade candidate on the Blackhawks on Saturday: forward Sam Lafferty. He lists Tampa, Edmonton, Toronto and Boston as potential landing spots for the forward, who Seravalli calls a “diamond in the rough.” Seravalli’s comparable deals include a third- or fourth-round pick. Here’s Seravalli’s summary of Lafferty as a trade chip:
Lafferty brings elements that a savvy, complete and veteran team could use on their fourth line. He isn’t perfect, lacking sense and his motor wanes during stretches, but the second year always seems to entice certain teams giving them cost certainty heading into the offseason. His contract coupled with his raw physical ability might make a team eager to try to pull a complete game out of him while harnessing what he already does well.
- In prospect action, Sam Savoie continued his terrific season with these two goal for Gatineau on Saturday afternoon. He also had an assist in the game, a blowout win.
- Landon Slaggert also got on the board for Notre Dame against Michigan State yesterday. This is Slaggert’s fourth goal of the season.
- How about an OT GWG from Sam Rinzel to put a cap on the weekend?
- Feel free to continue being excited by the possibility of Adam Fantilli being there for the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft. What he’s doing at Michigan this season is ludicrous!
- Love me some crazy trades, but trading for crazy? I’ll pass. Kyrie Irving has told the Brooklyn Nets to trade him before this week’s NBA trade deadline and… the Bulls are interested? C’mon man!