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Prospect Showcase: Preview

September 15, 2021, 3:35 AM ET [77 Comments]
Theo Fox
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

The Blackhawks finally released the roster for the upcoming Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase versus the Wild this weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota. The exhibition is named after the late Tom Kurvers who passed away in June after battling cancer.

There are only two games on the docket with the opening game on Friday, September 17, 7:00pm CDT and the closing game on Sunday, September 19, 1:00pm CDT. Both games will be live streamed on the Wild's YouTube channel.

Click here to view the full press release on the Blackhawks website.

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Roster

Forwards
#84 Andrei Altybarmakian
#26 Evan Barratt
#79 D.J. Busdeker
#28 Colton Dach
#15 Carson Gicewicz
#86 Mike Hardman
#34 Kale Howarth
#25 Jalen Luypen
#59 Jakub Pour
#27 Lukas Reichel
#36 Josiah Slavin
#53 Michal Teply
#54 Chad Yetman

Defensemen
#42 Nolan Allan
#46 Louis Crevier
#62 Ethan del Mastro
#76 Jakub Galvas
#63 Michael Krutil
#56 Dmitri Osipov
#41 Isaak Phillips
#75 Alec Regula

Goalies
#80 Tom Aubrun
#31 Cale Morris
#40 Arvid Soderblom

Notable prospects not on the roster include:

* Henrik Borgstrom (F)
* Matej Chalupa (F)
* MacKenzie Entwistle (F)
* Liam Folkes (F)
* Reese Johnson (F)
* Dylan McLaughlin (F)
* Cam Morrison (F)
* Chris Wilkie (F)
* Nicolas Beaudin (D)
* Wyatt Kalynuk (D)
* Chad Krys (D)
* Ian Mitchell (D)

The following prospects play in the NCAA or Canadian juniors so are already with their respective teams:

* Ryder Rolston (F)
* Landon Slaggert (F)
* Jake Wise (F)
* Stanislav Demin (D)
* Taige Harding (D)
* Wyatt Kaiser (D)
* Connor Kelley (D)
* Alex Vlasic (D)
* Dominic Basse (G)
* Drew Commesso (G)

The following prospects play in Europe or Russia so are already with their respective teams:

* Victor Ejdsell (F)
* Artur Kayumov (F)
* Niklas Nordgren (F)
* Antti Saarela (F)
* Ilya Safonov (F)
* Maxim Shalunov (F)
* Victor Stjernborg (F)
* Ivan Nalimov (G)

Also noteworthy are uniform numbers for several players:

* Carson Gicewicz is wearing #15 which became available after the Hawks didn't re-sign Zack Smith. With Gicewicz taking this number, Ian Mitchell is sticking with #51. Gicewicz and Mitchell both wore #15 in college.

* Josiah Slavin started his pro career with the IceHogs at the end of last season wearing #82 but has switched to #36.

* Chad Yetman similarly switched to #54 after wearing #61 as a rookie pro in Rockford last season.

* Jakub Galvas will be wearing #76 instead of a familiar #79 which he has worn for his native Czech Republic but is currently taken by D.J. Busdeker.

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Suggested Lineup

Dach - Reichel - Teply
Slavin - Barratt - Altybarmakian
Hardman - Yetman - Busdeker
Luypen - Gicewicz - Howarth
Pour

Allan - Regula
Del Mastro - Galvas
Phillips - Crevier
Krutil, Osipov

Soderblom
Morris
Aubrun

Notes on the suggested lineup:

* The top 6 has a mix of offensive skill with size, toughness, and relentlessness.

* The bottom 6 is flavored by an industrious compete level with secondary scoring ability.

* Each D pair has a defensive defenseman along with a partner who can carry the mail and generate offense.

* Between the pipes, Arvid Soderblom should get the start in the first game for two periods, then Cale Morris should get the 3rd period and start the next game before Tom Aubrun comes in relief.

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Who & What to Watch

Click here to take a poll on which prospects you are excited about most during this preseason.

Each of us has our own prospects who we are excited to see and ideally reach potential as an impact player within the Blackhawks system. Feel free to take the above poll to chime in and share your top prospects to watch in this exhibition and beyond.

One thing that I plan to key in on during this weekend's games are how the Hawks prospects fare against their peer group of another team's prospects. 1st and 2nd rounders like Lukas Reichel, Colton Dach, and Nolan Allan should dominate, right?

Then on the opposite end of the spectrum are late round picks and undrafted players who have high compete levels despite having lower NHL ceilings and potential such as Busdeker, Yetman, Mike Hardman, and Jalen Luypen.

And of course, there are prospects who may fit somewhere in the middle as dependable role players in the bottom 6 like Andrei Altybarmakian, Evan Barratt, and Josiah Slavin or 4/5/6 defensemen like Galvas, Isaak Phillips, and Alec Regula.

Others to watch:

* Michal Teply has been on the radar ever since being drafted in 2019 as a middle 6 scoring threat.

* Massive blueliners Louis Crevier and Ethan Del Mastro have intrigue due to their size and ability to skate well while playing shutdown defense.

* Soderblom will have eyes on him as one of the offseason's most coveted European free agents who has been described as just as good as fellow Swede and 2021 1st rounder goalie Jesper Wallstedt.

* Morris is also poised to build off of his strong rookie year in the AHL last season, albeit in a small sample size.

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Bad Blood

Over the past few years and this past one especially, a bitter rivalry has formed between Chicago and Minnesota's AHL affiliates. Whenever the IceHogs battle the Iowa Wild, blood boils intensely with amped up physicality and chirping.

Some of the shift disturbers in this discord between farm teams will be present this weekend at the exhibition. Altybarmakian and Barratt in particular are constantly in the middle of melees with their agitating play and trash talking.

Could feistiness from this war carry over to this showcase? Hopefully level heads will prevail for the safety of both teams' prospects. Remember, it was a Wild prospect who concussed Kirby Dach during the 2019 Traverse City prospect tourney.

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See you on the boards!

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