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Vibes Are High With The Blackhawks All Over The Organization

Someone on twitter said recently that I haven't been talking about the Blackhawks as much as in recent years. That's true. No trade deadline drama, last place team, and quite frankly...I got tired of always being negative. There hasn't been many nice things to say so I've largely opted to not say anything at all. 

That...has changed in the month of March. I really like the way the varsity team has been playing. There's only 8 games to go so wins aren't really a good thing for the lottery process, but I don't feel as lucky as I did last year so I am just enjoying good hockey. Bedard has been spectacular as ever. The play-making and the scoring have been great to see, but I love the way he's able to enter the zone with ease. He can speed up or slow down to find those pockets or create them. Reichel has looked like he may not be a complete bust lately. Joey Anderson continues to be a very solid player. Kind of this year's Raddysh where the numbers and impact are unexpectedly there and consistent. He's an RFA this summer and a guy who I'd like to see back. It's been nice to see AA using his speed again. He brings a dynamic that has been missing. 

The young D should have the entire city buzzing. Vlasic is becoming one of the very best defensive dmen in the game. His skating with his reach make entering the zone feel impossible. He makes good reads in transition. His emergence allows the Blackhawks to pencil in a cornerstone piece. Something they desperately needed on the backend. 

While Korchinski has had an up and down season I feel like if you're looking for positives you can point to his transition defense. Another guy using his skating to defend and playing to his strengths. He needs to get stronger and I am sure that will happen naturally as he physically matures and hits the gym this summer. I'd say overall this was a successful season for Korchinski. He was in a weird spot because he was clearly too good for the WHL at this point, but not quite ready for the NHL and not eligible for the AHL. I'd like to see the CHL/AHL/NHL reach some sort of agreement where each organization has the option to put one "under-age" player in the American League. 

The AHL looks like it was a huge benefit for Kaiser. He's been really good since coming back. Great 4-way skater. Plays with a bit of bite. Feels like he is more confident. Playing within himself and it's having an impact. If those three guys I mentioned continue to develop, which there's no reason to think that they won't, then the blue line is already looking pretty strong for 2024-25

Vlasic-Jones

Korchinski-Murphy

Kaiser-Del Mastro/Allen/Phillips/Crevier/UFA signing

You could do a lot worse than that. 

If you want to feel good about the forwards, all you need to do is turn on the NCAA tournament. Here's the Nazar play again

It's not just Nazar though. Oliver Moore's speed was a weapon in every single Minnesota game the 2nd half of this year. He looks like he will have a future in the NHL. Another year at Minnesota will do him well. 

I really like Ryan Greene at BU too. Great skater. 200 ft player. Plays in all situations. He was a smidge under a point per game for the season, but I am starting to think he's a bright lights guy. Every time BU has a big game he shows up. I thought he was spectacular in the postseason last year. This year has been no different. He's a big reason why BU is going to the Frozen Four

I don't know how it'll all fit together or if all of these guys will play in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks, but it's easy to dream about the future watching the college tournament. 

Bedard, Kurashev, Nazar, Moore, Greene, two first round picks this year including a top 5 pick...it's not bad. Need some size. Need some high end veterans. Need a goalie for the future, but there are great building blocks there. The rebuild has been too slow for my liking, but this team is going to fly once these guys start getting to the league.