Panthers Survive, Conversations with Top Prospects, Summer Trade Targets, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Panthers Survive, Conversations with Top Prospects, Summer Trade Targets, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks, NHL

We only had two games on the schedule last night, but both brought the drama. In the early game, Florida survived (we’ll get to that in a moment) and Seattle took a 3-2 series lead heading home for Game Six against the defending champs. Colorado was without Cale Makar because of his hit on Jared McCann, but the story to me was Tye Kartye — undrafted but went on to win this year’s AHL rookie of the year — making his NHL debut and scoring his first career NHL goal in the game last night. What a story!

  • We’ve got three games on the schedule for Thursday night, though I totally understand if you’re watching the NFL Draft (and our coverage) instead. However, Toronto and Vegas can become the first and second teams to advance to the second round with wins tonight. And Toronto winning is obviously more important to the Blackhawks than Vegas.
  • Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup for the Bruins last night after missing the first four games of the series, but it was Matthew Tkachuk who stole the headlines and highlights with an amazing, overtime game-winning goal to keep the Panthers’ hopes alive for one more game.
  • Earlier this week I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of the Blackhawks’ prospects who have seen their stock rise more than maybe any players in the organization: defenseman Isaak Phillips and forward Gavin Hayes. I’m among those who believe Phillips will be a mainstay on the Blackhawks’ blue line next year and into the future; he’s been so impressive in his NHL action thus far. But he’s been equally impressive off the ice. We spoke about both his growth as a player and the evolution of the Blackhawks organization during his three seasons with the IceHogs.
  • It sounds like Rockford head coach Anders Sorensen agrees with my assessment of Phillips. He spoke with Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago and said this about the young defenseman:

“Physically, he’s just a specimen,” Sorensen said. “Just learning how to control himself, learning how to manage his game, manage his emotion, understanding when to pick his spot to be up in the rush and when to be predictable and play solid defense, that was the big thing for him, and he’s done a great job with it.”

  • Hayes was the “other guy” drafted last year with the second pick the Blackhawks received in the trade that sent Kirby Dach to Montreal. But he was on fire most of this season, putting up 41 goals for Flint. Now, he’s in Rockford getting some more professional experience skating with the IceHogs during the playoffs. We talked about his impressive season since the draft and his plans for the coming year.
  • One fun anecdote that didn’t make the story: I asked him if he had an “OMG” moment meeting someone since he started the draft process. He said he ran into Patrick Kane working out off the ice last summer when he was in town for a prospect camp.

“There was one guy in [the workout room] and I didn’t know who it was because he was standing behind me. And I turned around, it was Patrick Kane. And I just walked up to him and introduced myself… I used to be number 88 when I was a kid, so yeah, it was pretty funny how we met.”

  • The Blackhawks have a lot of money to spend this summer in an underwhelming free agent market, and general manager Kyle Davidson has said that he doesn’t necessarily want/expect to sign any long-term deals. So the trade market might be where the Blackhawks find ways to spend some money while adding additional assets to help accelerate the rebuild. Frank Seravalli at the Daily Faceoff dropped his early big board of potential trade targets this summer.
  • A fun draft note since drafting is going to be on our minds today:
  • Finally, it’s Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears own the ninth overall pick in the first round and have a collection of picks all over the following rounds. Make sure you’re following our Bears and NFL coverage all day for the latest — and analysis of the picks/trades as they come in.

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