Blackhawks 2022 Draft Class Updates

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Blackhawks 2022 Draft Class Updates: How Have The Picks Performed?

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks made 11 picks in the 2022 NHL Draft. To say that was a busy, crazy time for Blackhawks fans is an understatement; the trades of Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach and others took the Hawks from zero first-round picks to three and other trades added to their capital in last summer’s draft class. In fact, the first 10 of Chicago’s 11 picks in the 2022 NHL Draft were acquired via trade.

So, how are the kids doing? We’ve talked about some of the players from last summer’s class more than others; Kevin Korchinski and Gavin Hayes have been on heaters lately and the players jumping into the 16-team bracket hoping to win an NCAA championship (Frank Nazar, Aidan Thompson). But with season(s) coming to their respective closes or nearing playoffs, it’s a good time to take a step back and look at the class as a whole.

In short: it’s been a good year for the Blackhawks’ organizational depth and the future looks significantly brighter because of the additions general manager Kyle Davidson and his team were able to make last summer.

1 (7) — Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle (WHL)

Pick acquired: via trade from Ottawa for Alex DeBrincat

Korchinski has done just about everything we could have hoped this season on a Seattle squad that’s added a few pieces — including fellow Blackhawks prospects Colton Dach and Nolan Allan — to make a deep run in the postseason. He was a bottom-pair defenseman for Canada at the World Juniors but could return in a more significant role for next year’s tournament.

1 (13) — Frank Nazar, C, Michigan (NCAA)

Pick acquired: via trade from Montreal for Kirby Dach

An injury delayed the start of Nazar’s season but he’s been solid since joining the Wolverines. He was touted as arguably the fastest skater in the draft class last summer and, if you’ve watched him play at all the last couple weeks, that has not been impacted by his physical issue. He’s a dynamic playmaker who has some swagger to his game as well.

1 (25) — Sam Rinzel, RHD, Waterloo (USHL)

Pick acquired: via trade from Toronto (with Petr Mrazek)
Unsigned — Committed to U. of Minnesota next season

Rinzel has been a solid defenseman in the USHL this season. When he was drafted we knew he was going to be more of a long-term project than an immediate prospect; he’s committed to play at Minnesota next season and the Gophers are the top-ranked team in the country right now. He’s a long, right-handed shot who can skate.

2 (39) — Paul Ludwinski, C, Kingston (OHL)

Pick acquired: via trade from Ottawa for Alex DeBrincat

Ludwinski’s season hasn’t been as good as we likely had hoped, but he’s dealt with a few physical issues that began with a concussion at the Blackhawks’ prospect showcase in September. The good news: the Hawks don’t need him to hurry up and turn pro immediately, and will give him time to get healthy and progress. There’s still a lot to like about his game, he just needs to more healthy ice time.

2 (57) — Ryan Greene, C, Boston U. (NCAA)

Pick acquired: via trade from Minnesota for Marc-André Fleury

Greene has probably exceeded expectations for many outsiders since the prospect camp in the summer and then an impressive showing at Canada’s development camp for the World Juniors. He’s been a marvelous addition to the roster at BU, playing with speed and contributing all over the ice.

3 (66) — Gavin Hayes, W, Flint (OHL)

Pick acquired: via trade from Montreal for Kirby Dach

Like Greene, Hayes has been a terrific player this year who has opened eye with his scoring touch. He looked good in limited action with the Blackhawks during the preseason, but he’s now a 40-goal scorer in the OHL and has been on fire since the start of February. There’s a lot to like about his game.

3 (81) — Samuel Savoie, W, Gatineau (QMJHL)

Pick acquired: via trade (with Colton Dach pick) from Vegas for Nick Desimone and a 5th rounder in 2022

Savoie got off to a tremendous start after the draft, grabbing eyes at every pro camp he attended and in the preseason action he saw with the Blackhawks. His production has slowed down late in the season but he’s had a good year in Gatinueau.

3 (90) — Aidan Thompson, C, Denver (NCAA)

Pick acquired: via trade from Calgary for Nikita Zadorov

Like Nazar, Thompson’s season started late because of an injury. But since joining the Pioneers, he’s been a lock as their No. 2 center and has been a point-per-game player on a top program. He was an overage pick (he’s already 21) so there might be some consideration given to signing Thompson when Denver’s season ends to get him under contract for three years.

6 (173) — Dominic James, C, Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)

Pick acquired: via trade from Columbus in the Seth Jones trade

As a sixth-round pick after his freshman year at Minnesota-Duluth, James wasn’t a guy that many looked at as a potential contributor. But he was one of the top faceoff guys at the August edition of the World Juniors for the United States and has had an impressive sophomore campaign for the Bulldogs (playing with Wyatt Kaiser). Center depth is something every organization needs, and having another quality faceoff guy in the fold is a great thing.

6 (188) — Nils Juntorp, LW, Dubuque (USHL)

Pick acquired: via trade from Carolina (pick swap)

Juntorp made the move from Sweden to the USHL this season to get some North American exposure and has had a solid season. At 6-1 and around 200 pounds, he has the size the Blackhawks have clearly identified as a target and plays with good pace.

7 (199) — Riku Tohila, C, KeuPa HT (Finland)

Pick acquired: Chicago owned

Tohila stood out at the summer prospect camp because he’s 6-6 before he puts his skates on and hits the ice. He doesn’t turn 20 until early December and is playing in Finland this season.

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