The Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild battled this weekend in the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase. While it was great to see hockey being played, it was just tough to get into the action. I caught a little bit of each game on Friday and Sunday and I have just a few takeaways.
Lukas Reichel looks ready to make the jump
Reichel by many (including himself) has already been penciled into the opening night roster. He comes into this years training camp putting on some much needed weight going up to 185 pounds, all while not sacrificing his speed on the ice. After an injury scare during Friday's game, he came out on Sunday like a mad man. He was all over the ice creating chances and finishing the game with 4 assists. While it is super easy to get excited with this, you have to remember the prospect showcase is a long ways from NHL competition. However, Reichel was by far the best player on the ice, so I will say I can’t wait to see how he does in training camp and hopefully he cracks the roster.
Cole Guttman might be a diamond in the rough
After not signing with the Lightning, the former Denver University Captain, and 2022 National Champion signed with Chicago. He had a very solid performance in college, finishing his college career with 121 points (55-66). That experience transferred well as Guttman scored in both games this weekend. He does a good job winning draws and plays all three zones well. One down side is that he is a smaller player (5’9 and 167 pounds according to Hawks roster). I think he will spend some time with Rockford but don’t be surprised if they need to bring up a forward, he is one of the first names that gets called.
Defense has the potential to be elite
It’s no secret that while the farm system needs to be replenished, however, when it comes to the backend things are looking good. Korchinski showed why he was taken 7th overall in this years drafts. He showed confidence in skating the puck out of the zone, creating good chances in the offensive zone and getting pucks on net. Vlasic is another exciting piece, already playing 15 NHL games and really learning to use his size and strength, he has the potential to be a huge part of the future D-Core. One other player I really liked what I saw was Ethan Del Mastro. Defensemen take a little bit longer to develop compared to forwards, and as long as Kyle Davidson has learned from Bowmans mistakes and doesn’t rush these prospects up, the foundation for an elite defensive group is there.
This weekend was a nice little preview of what the future holds for this team and the best part of it is we still have a few more prospects who didn’t play in this series that are going to be a big part of this team. Frank Nazar was one of those guys I have been very excited to watch since he fell down to the Hawks at 13th overall. You also have goaltender Drew Commesso who could be the goalie of the future, but we will have to wait a little longer as he is still only 20 years old.
Get ready Hawk fans, training camp starts the 21st, then we are just 8 days away from the first preseason game and just 23 games from the regular season opener. Hockey is almost here.
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