Scoreboard Watching, Nazar Talks Frozen Four, Player Grades, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
Right off the jump this morning because there were a few questions about Joey Anderson going on waivers yesterday: he cleared, and he’s staying with the Blackhawks. Him being placed on waivers was a formality; he needed to clear to be assigned to Rockford to join their playoff run. The Blackhawks assigned him to Rockford in a paper transaction just before the NHL’s trade deadline so he would be eligible. After Monday’s practice, head coach Luke Richardson said the plan is for him to finish the regular season with the Blackhawks before going to help the IceHogs.
- With the battle to be Bad for Bedard in mind, here are the games we’re watching tonight:
Columbus at Toronto
Philadelphia at St. Louis
Colorado at San Jose
Chicago at Calgary
- It sounds like we’re getting closer to Jarred Tinordi returning to the lineup. After practice on Monday, Richardson said he’ll make the trip with the team and jump back into the lineup during the three-game swing.
- Ben Pope caught up with Michigan forward Frank Nazar to discuss the state of his game a couple days before he takes the ice in the Frozen Four. If you’ve watched him play, you know Nazar doesn’t lack any swagger in his game. But I liked his approach to playing in the biggest game(s) of his career this week in Tampa.
‘‘Honestly, the big games, the pressure games, those are by far my favorite,’’ Nazar told Pope. ‘‘Those are the games you see who steps up and who gets it done.
‘‘I’m not going to change much. I’m just going to keep my legs moving and keep the high pace, high engine, and try to turn over pucks and maybe put a few in the net. Hopefully other guys are going to do the same thing, and we’ll be able to get two wins.’
- Shayna Goldman and Dom Luszczyszyn at The Athletic released their final season updates to their individual player cards for every team in the NHL on Monday. The Blackhawks can be found here. As you might guess, most of the players on the Blackhawks’ roster are playing at a level below where they’re getting paid. I was surprised, however, that eight Blackhawks — including Andreas Athanasiou — received a market value of “league minimum.”
- Another valuation that surprised me was Seth Jones. His play has been better this season in Richardson’s system, but there are certainly still times that he leaves something to be desired on the ice. They gave him a market value of only $3.3 million, which is $6.2 million below his cap hit.
- Not surprisingly, the player who has generated the greatest value surplus between his current salary and his value based on performance has been Taylor Raddysh, who reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career this season. Raddysh was given a market value of $3.1 million — a surplus of $2.3 million. That might be a number to keep in mind with Raddysh able to negotiate an extension beginning in July.
- Just a reminder of what the Blackhawks are looking for when they bring players into the mix via trade, free agency or the draft. It’s all about speed. The organization has clearly identified that as the attribute they’re going to build around moving forward. Most of their 2022 draft class could move, and almost every player they’ve brought in since Kyle Davidson assumed the general manager’s role as an interim has been fast. After seeing some of Austin Wagner in action, he clearly brings that element; Richardson has referred to him as “a left-handed Sam Lafferty” type player. His teammates see it, too.
- Chris Vosters has had the unenviable task of not only replacing an icon in Pat Foley, but doing it while calling games for the team with the worst record in the NHL. Scott Powers at The Athletic sat down with him recently to reflect on being in the role for one full year — almost at the end of one full season. I know there are some fans who are never going to accept whomever is in “Foley’s seat” much like there were struggles to replace Harry Caray in the Cubs’ booth for years, but Vosters has shown a lot of growth this season. I appreciated what he had to say about working with Patrick Sharp and Troy Murray on a rotating basis and learning the game while he learns the ins and outs of the job.
“The best part is working with those two guys,” Vosters told Powers. “Like it has been an absolute blast. They have been so kind to me. They’ve been so patient with me, teaching me a lot of the finer points of the game. I’ve really enjoyed just picking their brains and learning about the game in a deeper way, also hearing their stories of playing days. It’s a great indoctrination. There are negative connotations with that word, but it’s been a hockey indoctrination for me. As I told you, I didn’t grow up in a hockey community. I grew up in Wisconsin without an NHL team. So this has been baptism by fire, I mean, full head-to-toe immersion, and they’ve been kind of my ambassadors to the game, kind of my big brothers in a way.”
- Finally, the Bears are now just 23 days away from the 2023 NFL Draft. And a guy they had on their board when they owned the No. 1 overall pick has reportedly had multiple conversations with them. Could Jalen Carter slide to them at nine?
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