Draft Class of ’22 Lights the Lamp A LOT, Blue Line Trade Buzz Heating Up, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
I know the Blackhawks played an NHL game in Winnipeg last night, but the hype train was rolling so hard I want to start in the prospect ranks. If you were on Twitter and you follow @BN_Blackhawks you might have seen a few of these during the first half of the Hawks’ game. But here’s the collection: almost half of the Blackhawks’ 11 draft picks from the class of 2022 scored last night.
- Chicago’s first pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (No. 7 overall), Kevin Korchinski, appropriately scored his seventh goal of the season. Rip city, baby!
- Chicago’s second pick in the first round (No. 13), Frank Nazar, scored his first NCAA goal in just his second game for the University of Michigan. Nazar almost won the game in overtime, but it didn’t take much longer for Luke Hughes to score the incredible, dramatic game-winner with 0.6 seconds left in OT. Hughes, who has two older brothers waiting for him in the NHL, has had some amazing signature moments this year in Ann Arbor and this adds to the list.
- The Blackhawks drafted Flint Firebirds’ forward Gavin Hayes in the third round (No. 66 overall) and he also scored a goal last night.
- The Blackhawks drafted Gatineau forward Sam Savoie in the third round of the 2022 NHL Draft (No. 81) and he scored a goal on Saturday night.
- Chicago drafted Denver’s Aidan Thompson in the third round as well (No. 90) and he also scored a goal last night.
- That’s goals from five (5) members of the Blackhawks’ draft class from this past summer in one night. Oh, and they got goals from Paul Ludwinski (shootout game-winner) and Thompson on Friday night as well.
- Notre Dame forward Landon Slaggert wasn’t drafted in 2022, but he has heated up lately after struggling to get his offense going because of some nagging physical issues. The junior forward has four goals and three assists in his last nine games. I still expect the Blackhawks to at least have a long conversation with him about making the move to the professional ranks when Notre Dame’s season (I would be somewhat surprised if the Blackhawks don’t sign him).
- My point being: the Blackhawks’ future looks pretty good right now because they have a lot of young forwards who are starting to put some very interesting numbers on the board. Remember: their pool of prospects was recently ranked fifth overall in the NHL — before they add a potentially elite player with a high pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
- With their 4-1 loss in Winnipeg on Saturday night, the Blackhawks stayed in the mix for the worst point percentage in the league. Chicago still has two games in-hand on Columbus. What’s more, the Blue Jackets and Canadiens won their games on Saturday and Arizona picks up a point in an OT loss. The Blackhawks’ next game is in Montreal on Tuesday night.
- One of the big trade pieces on the market this year, 24-year-old Arizona defenseman Jakob Chychrun, was a healthy scratch on Saturday night. And the Coyotes admitted he was scratched because of trade-related issues. So apparently he played his last game for the Yotes in Chicago on Friday night.
- Jeff Marek had an update on SportsNet, noting that apparently he has heard that Edmonton and Toronto are not his future employer. One team that’s been hot on his trail has been the LA Kings, which Marek notes in his report.
- Why the Kings might have been downplaying questions about them making a significant trade — the most significant addition to a Western Conference playoff team thus far this season — is because they were retiring the jersey of their former captain Dustin Brown on Saturday night. They also unveiled a statue of Brown, who was a warrior for years — even after they took the C off his jersey.
- Why are we paying close attention to the Chychrun situation? Because the general feeling is Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe would be the next defenseman to come off the market. And, if the cost on Chychrun climbs too high (which might be the case for Toronto per Marek’s report) there’s a chance McCabe goes first. Pierre LeBrun reported that the ask for McCabe “includes” a first-round picks, meaning the Blackhawks are asking for more than that for the veteran. And, based on what I’m hearing, there is still strong interest even with that being the starting point.
- Finally, it’s Super Bowl Sunday so please, before you make your financial commitment for the afternoon/evening make sure to check out our preview. Patrick’s perfect picking the postseason thus far… jus’ sayin…
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