On December 3rd I started a blog that I promised to update. The theme of said blog was looking at all of the Hawks prospects in the pipeline and making All-Start teams of sorts.
Check it out December’s edition HERE.
What I have laid out below are the best-of-the-best Blackhawks prospects that aren't on the official NHL roster.
The breakdown will be:
Rockford – top 6 forwards, top 4 defencemen, top goalie
All Non-Rockford Prospects – top 6 forwards, top 4 defencemen, top goalie
From there, I will mash-up the best lineup to highlight who's in the pipeline for the Blackhawks as a whole to give an overall view.
Rockford is up first; they have been losing more games than winning lately and have a big 3-game road trip in Texas with the Star tomorrow night, followed by San Antonio on Sunday and Tuesday.
There are a couple new faces since December’s edition… here you go:
Rockford All-Star Team
Anthony Louis – Jacob Nilsson - Dylan Sikura
Jordan Schroeder – Luke Johnson – Alexandre Fortin
Lucas Carlsson - Darren Raddysh
Blake Hillman – Jan Rutta
* The “scoring” has really been lacking so it was a little tricky to find 6 forwards to be honest from what I’ve been seeing. Jacob Nilsson had a hattrick on January 6th and has been playing with confidence since his short stint with the big club.
* Rutta has been a welcomed addition to the backend and will be an asset to this team down the stretch.
* Lankinen has played well as of late with a 1.99 GAA and a .942 SV% over his last 3 games. With Delia up and Forsberg becoming the forgotten man, it’s worth seeing what they have in this Kevin kid.
Obviously the WJHC was the headliner for these next players – the ones not in Rockford. The Hawks prospects played well for the most part and it was very encouraging to see the 7 participants on the world stage.
Non-Rockford All-Star Team
Brandon Hagel - Phillip Kurashev - Mackenzie Entwhistle
Josiah Slavin - Evan Barratt – Mikael Hakkarainen
Nicolas Beaudin - Adam Boqvist
Jakub Galvas - Ian Mitchell
* Philipp Kurashev had an awesome World Juniors tournament and has put himself on the radar. He might have earned himself an NHL contract a year ahead of schedule.
* I thought Mackenzie Entwhistle had a great tournament as a role player for Team Canada. He was also traded from the Hamilton Bulldogs to the Guelph Strom. The Storm are loading up to take down the London Knights in the West, while Hamilton is a rebuild phase.
* Nicolas Beaudin has taken his cut from Team Canada with maturity and a lot of motivation apparentently. He’s been playing extremely well as of late and is up to 35 points in 28 games and is a +40… yes +40! He’s helped his team, Drummondville (QMJHL), to 5 wins in their last 7.
* Mikael Hakkarainen makes the team this month. He’s a centre by nature but moved him to the RW to make him fit. He’s continued his strong play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) with 11 goals and 19 assists through 20 games.
Now, the ultimate lineup if one was to make a team out of both “All-Star Teams”:
All Prospect Team - January Edition
Anthony Louis - Phillip Kurashev - Dylan Sikura
Brandon Hagel – Jacob Nilsson – Alexandre Fortin
Jordan Schroeder - Evan Barratt - Mackenzie Entwhistle
Josiah Slavin – Luke Johnson – Mikael Hakkarainen
Nicolas Beaudin - Ian Mitchell
Lucas Carlsson - Adam Boqvist
Darren Raddysh – Jan Rutta
Once again, keep in mind that some of these guys can shift positions but I tried to keep them in their "All-Star" slots as selected.
Now on to more Blackhawks, Hockey and Misc. news:
* Nick Schmaltz done for the year – tough break for him. Here’s hoping he has a speedy recovery. Patrick Kane reached out to him afterwards to tell him to keep his head up. No player wants to see this happen to their fellow peers.
* Rick Nash retires – through Nash’s agent, it was announced today that Rick Nash is retiring. A great career for him and appears to be a wise decision to call it a career after being advised by doctors that it would not be safe to return to the sport due to the previous brain injuries he has suffered.
* Rockford hits the road – If you haven’t yet checked out the AHL streaming services, you will have a chance to do so for free this weekend. The AHL is offering all of Saturday’s games at no cost. Rockford plays at 7pm CST if you wanted to test it out watching the ‘Hogs.
* Finally, I will be joining The-Rink crew, Gatekeeper and John Jaeckel as a guest on their podcast tonight. If you have any questions or topics you want me to cover, shoot me a note here or on Twitter.
I think most of you know this, but for those who don’t, my name isn’t actually Justin Lowe. It’s Tyler Cameron. Justin Lowe is a pseudonym that I had to use due to a conflict of interest from my previous job. Since I started writing for HockeyBuzz, I have left said job and will be looking to change my name to Tyler Cameron on here this year at some point.
I wanted to make sure you all knew before you hear me announced on the on The-Rink as such. I didn't want you all to think you are dating the wrong person.
The Hawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow at home. I wonder if the Knights are just going to play that 4th line all game against the Hawks? They should as Chicago doesn’t even come close to having an answer for those guys.
See ya out there,