Three Blackhawks Crack the Top-25 in New NHL Prospect Rankings

Kevin Korchinski Blackhawks NHL Draft
Kevin Korchinski Blackhawks NHL Draft

With the current NHL season heading in the clearly stated direction of improving the future of the Blackhawks, even at the expense of the present, a lot of our focus here has been on the prospects.

General manager Kyle Davidson has emphasized drafting and developing the next generation(s) of players from his first day as interim general manager, and he’s been working hard to not only increase the number of quality players in the system, but also raise the overall quality of players, themselves. There’s a distinction there, such that it matters to you.

And thus far, he’s done an admirable job. Last week, The Athletic ranked the Blackhawks’ prospect pool fifth in the entire NHL — a significant improvement from where the organization has been for years. Many of the young players who have made an impact on the outside perception of Chicago’s talent pool were drafted this past summer by Davidson with picks he acquired in trades that involved players fans liked/loved.

On Monday morning, Scott Wheeler at The Athletic released his rankings of the top 50 drafted prospects in the NHL. His criteria for this list is pretty simple: players have to have been drafted, be under the age of 23 and not be an NHL regular yet.

The Blackhawks had three players appear on his list — all in the top 25 overall.

The first Blackhawks prospect to appear on the list is defenseman Kevin Korchinski, the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (one of the picks acquired in the Alex DeBrincat trade). Korchinki, ranked No. 12 on Wheeler’s list, is one of the biggest risers on the list, jumping from 30th on the July list. Here’s some of what Wheeler had to say about Korchinski’s game:

Korchinski handles the puck smoothly on his hip, his impressive footwork and maneuverability help him adjust to, away, and around pressure (both of which have come a long way), and then he’s a natural playmaker who can make something happen and facilitate out of all of his movement and carries.

I like his stick and his ability to use his feet to defend the rush and disrupt play more and more (though he’s a better transition defender than a defensive-zone one). His hallmark has become his balance over his skates (an area that, astoundingly, was once a major concern before a growth spurt somehow straightened his posture out).

Another significant riser on the list is forward Lukas Reichel, who appears at No. 20 on Wheeler’s list. He was ranked 41st overall in July. The 17th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft has seen a little NHL action this year and scored his first NHL goal, but has intentionally been in Rockford most of this year despite his offensive abilities clearly being something the big club could use. That’s the development piece playing out, and Reichel’s performance in his second recall showed how he’s growing as a player.

Here’s some of what Wheeler had to say about Reichel:

He’s a multifaceted offensive player who is as effective playing off his linemates and using space as a tool to get open as a shooter as he is creating his own chances or using his ability to weave through pressure to draw attention and then facilitate. He also never looks bothered by pressure, solving problems easily and asserting himself on games with poise and confidence. There’s footwork, puck control, confidence and just an ease to his game that you don’t typically find in young players.

Frank Nazar Blackhawks 2022 NHL Draft

The third and final Blackhawks prospect who appears on the list is Frank Nazar at No. 25 (a one spot improvement from July). The Blackhawks selected Nazar 13th overall (with a pick they received in the Kirby Dach trade) and speed was one of his calling cards. So when his freshman season at the University of Michigan was in doubt because of a lower-body issue that required a surgical procedure, there were a few concerned fans out there.

Nazar joined the Wolverines this weekend and looked great (for his first game action in months). He scored his first collegiate goal on Saturday night and his speed was evident on every shift in the two wins against rival Michigan State.

I was impressed that Wheeler kept Nazar where he did given the injury limiting him to two games since the July rankings; Wheeler admits he struggled with where to slot him given the limited action he’s had this season. But here’s some of what he wrote about Nazar:

Few prospects dash around the ice and make plays like Nazar does. He’s a threatening player from the hashmarks because of his wrister, which he pops off of his stick with sneaky power and precision thanks in large part to the balance he displays through his weight shift (he’s not a super strong kid, though he is a tremendous athlete).

He plays pucks into space extremely well, regularly executing through tight gaps in coverage. And he’s just a hungry, driven player who consistently targets the middle lane with his greatest asset — his skating.

Nazar’s one of the fastest prospects in the sport, not only in straight lines and winding up through his crossovers, but also adjusting tempos (a learned skill that he really developed at U.S. NTDP). That allows him to impact play both with the puck attacking in transition to turn defenders or creating breakaways, as well as without it, speeding into lanes to get open for his linemates.

written by

Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

more blackhawks news

More Speculation Surrounding the Blackhawks-Islanders Draft Trade (Another Move Coming?)

Since the Blackhawks and Islanders made their swap of picks in the 2024 NHL Draft on Friday, there have been a lot of questions here (and on our social channels) and everywhere else in Blackhawks-land about why exactly general manager...

Bedard’s Worlds Experience, Czechia Celebrates, Dallas’ Build, and Other Blackhawks Memorial Day Bullets

It's Memorial Day, a time when we are supposed to take a step back amidst the barbeque invites and driving to/from lakes and boats to be thankful for those who have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom. As...

Canada’s Loss, Draft Talk, Celebs in Big D, Rumor Mill Churning, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

So, the World Championship semifinals didn't go the way lots of fans on our continent hoped. Canada lost in a shootout, sending Philipp Kurashev and Switzerland to the championship game against the hosts from Czechia (including Petr Mrazek), who hung...

World Championship Semis, Draft Trade Thoughts, More Coaching Moves, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Welcome to Memorial Day Weekend, Blackhawks fans! The semifinals of the World Championship happen this morning. The Blackhawks' headliner game is at 11:20 AM CT as Connor Bedard and Canada will face Philipp Kurashev and Switzerland. Speaking of the World...

2024 NHL Mock Draft: Post Blackhawks-Islanders Trade Updated Two-Rounds

On Friday, the Blackhawks and Islanders made a trade involving five picks in the 2024 NHL Draft, including Chicago moving up two spots in the first round. With that trade, we need to update our 2024 NHL Mock Draft! So...

BOOM! The Blackhawks Have Traded UP in the 2024 NHL Draft

For all of the Blackhawks fans asking if the team would use their draft collateral to move up in the 2024 NHL Draft, the team already took a step UP with a trade on Friday. The Blackhawks announced that the...

What Picks Do the Chicago Blackhawks Own in the 2024 NHL Draft?

How about a quick refresher on which picks the Chicago Blackhawks own in the 2024 NHL Draft? Sure, why not. Here's the Blackhawks' round-by-round breakdown of the picks they own with how they acquired each pick, or what the Hawks...

Hurricanes GM Don Waddell Steps Down

Big news from Carolina as one of the teams that's heading into an uncertain summer with a boatload of free agents will now be handling their business with a new general manager. Carolina announced on Friday morning that GM Don...

Blackhawks Free Agent Market: A Kane Reunion? Joshua, Lindholm, RHD Options, More

Let's get into some potentially Blackhawks-related free agent discussion to start our holiday weekend, shall we? A couple pieces dropped on Friday that got my attention, and I wanted to dig in with some thoughts. Pierre LeBrun at The Athletic...

Rockford Records, Waddell Leaving Carolina? a Landeskog Comeback, a Lost Bet, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

The Blackhawks have three players remaining in the World Championships as the brackets advance to the semifinals: Connor Bedard and Canada, Philipp Kurashev and Switzerland and Petr Mrazek with the hosts from Czechia. The two games will be played on...

Latest News

Dodgers vs. Mets: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

In a series opener on Tuesday, Tyler Glasnow will start for the Los Angeles Dodgers (33-22) versus Tylor Megill and the New York Mets (22-30), with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET at Citi Field.If you're planning on watching...

How to Watch Yankees vs. Angels: Live Stream or on TV

In a series opener on Tuesday, Juan Soto and the New York Yankees (37-18) face Taylor Ward and the Los Angeles Angels (20-33), with first pitch scheduled for 9:38 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.If you're trying to watch...

Mariners vs. Astros: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Seattle Mariners (28-26), led by Dylan Moore, host Kyle Tucker and the Houston Astros (24-29) at 9:40 PM ET on Tuesday.Keep reading to find out all the details on how to watch Seattle take on Houston live.When is Mariners...

Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Yankees Series May 28-30: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

The Los Angeles Angels will be hosting the New York Yankees for a three-game series, with the action getting underway at 9:38 PM ET on Tuesday, May 28.Angels vs. Yankees Series Info Yankees @ Angels Time: Tuesday, May 28 at...

Texas Rangers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Series May 28-29: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

A two-game series featuring the Texas Rangers and the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks will begin on Tuesday, May 28 at 8:05 PM ET.Rangers vs. Diamondbacks Series Info Diamondbacks @ Rangers Time: Tuesday, May 28 at 8:05 PM ET Rangers Starting Pitcher:...

Reds vs. Cardinals: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Cincinnati Reds (24-30), led by Spencer Steer, host Brendan Donovan and the St. Louis Cardinals (25-27) on Tuesday at 6:40 PM ET.The article below will provide you with everything you need to know to watch Cincinnati play St. Louis.When...

Braves vs. Nationals: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Marcell Ozuna and the Atlanta Braves (30-21) host C.J. Abrams and the Washington Nationals (24-28) at 7:20 PM ET on Tuesday.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading for streaming and TV options for the Atlanta-Washington matchup.When is Braves...

Guardians vs. Rockies: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Tuesday, Jose Ramirez and the Cleveland Guardians (36-18) face Ryan McMahon and the Colorado Rockies (19-34), with first pitch scheduled for 8:40 PM ET at Coors Field.If you're intending to watch this game, keep reading for TV and streaming...

Brewers vs. Cubs: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Milwaukee Brewers (31-22), led by William Contreras, host Nico Hoerner and the Chicago Cubs (27-27) on Tuesday at 7:40 PM ET.The article below will provide you with everything you need to know to watch Milwaukee play Chicago.When is Brewers...

REPORT: ANGEL HERNANDEZ IS RETIRING

Angel Hernández long ago - roughly around the time Joe West hung 'em up - became the face of Bad Umpiring in Major League Baseball. We can debate the degree to which that kind of title is deserved, but Hernández...

more blackhawks news