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For The First Time In Over A Decade, The Blackhawks Have A Highly Rated Prospect Pool

Hey that's nice!

These prospect pool rankings aren't the be all end all, and I've had my issues with these rankings historically as I think they tend to over value high end tools and trends (think Adam Boqvist) and under value other more traditionally projectable attributes. The ultimate goal is to get these guys to be competitive guys at the NHL level. In recent years you'd look at the top of the Blackhawks pipeline and have a hard time envisioning any of them contributing to a good team. 

That's not the case anymore. Davidson and his amateur scouting staff clearly have a hierarchy of traits that they value. At the top of that list is speed, smarts, and competitiveness. If you have those three things you can carve out an NHL role in most cases. Just look at guys like Sam Lafferty and Brandon Hagel. Nobody would give those guys a first round grade...unless you're giving up a first round pick for them later in a trade as you're trying to win a Cup. The Blackhawks have MANY guys who fit that bill. You have to pay your top end guys that you get at the top of the first round. You sustain championships by consistently working in cheap guys on rookie deals that have a high floor. 

That is what gets me excited about this group. Right now the Blackhawks have two forwards that you can pencil into a future top 6 that looks fast and dangerous. That would be Reichel and Nazar. Then you get the BIG prize of hopefully either Bedard or Fantilli and poof...there is 50% of your top 6. The Hawks have another pick at the end of this first round in 2023, a high 2nd round pick, and then two picks (for now) in next year's first round as well. Oh...and theoretically Patrick Kane and maybe another free agent because the Hawks will have money. 

Then you fill out your bottom 6 with guys who at this moment are looking the part. 

Ryan Greene, Colton Dach, Paul Ludwinski, Gavin Hayes, Aiden Thompson, Stjernborg, Samuel Savoie, Slaggert, Dom James. Obviously not all of those guys will turn into NHL players. Certainly all of them won't be in the NHL for the Blackhawks. The Hawks will have to find free agents and other future prospects to supplement this group. I still like Raddysh and Kurashev as potential depth guys as well. I just listed 11 guys that have a decent enough chance to contribute in some way. That's a much different picture than 24 months ago when the Hawks probably had zero. 

When you look at the defense, it's not hard to envision a good core coming out of this group as well. 

On the left side

Korchinski

Del Mastro

Kaiser

Vlasic

Phillips

On the right side

Jones

Murphy

Mitchell

Rinzel

Korchinski looks like a stud to me even if I do think his WJC was a bit underwhelming. You wouldn't play him with Jones, but Murphy as the veteran stabilizing stay-at-home guy that allows Korchinski to play to his strengths is exciting. Jones then would have the ability to log his big minutes and play with a young player who will be the stay-at-home type. Similar to the forwards, odds are that not all of these guys will make the NHL. The Blackhawks really just need one of Del Mastro/Vlasic/Kaiser to emerge as a responsible top 4 type guy to play with Jones. I think that is reasonable. 

Korchinksi-Murphy

Del Mastro-Jones

Kaiser and...someone. Rinzel hopefully develops to the point that he becomes the player who takes over for Murphy when his deal is up in 2026. 

Goalies...who knows. Certainly not me. 

There's a gleam. For the first time in a long time you can think about a bright future for the Blackhawks instead of praying for one. 

There is only 26 days until the deadline. Hopefully the Blackhawks can add even more to their cupboard heading into the 2023 draft. They are obviously lacking the super star talent which is nearly impossible to find anywhere but at the very top of the draft. If it's Bedard then the pedal goes to the floor on the rebuild. Davidson and his team have already done a fantastic job adding fast, high energy, and high character players. Now it's time to go grab the high ceiling guys so we can all enjoy playoff hockey again.