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- Last Login: Sep 22, 2021, 11:44pm EDT
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Apologies, I was originally going to talk about his carry % (which is top 5 on the team) but switched the chart to passing because it was how he transitioned more.
It’s why "decently strong" is still in there when obvs top 10 in the league would be better than decent. It’s what I get for writing at like 4am.
So just to note, Strome wasn’t elite at skating the puck out. this past season, but he’s above average at carry % and only Kane, Cat, Dach, Hagel, and Kurashev ahead of him (some minutes issues with Dach potentially skewed up). Kampf and Janmark were the only other two Blackhawks with above league average carry % numbers, though Hino was cut off for sample limitations.
Ultimately, Strome prefers to pass out of the zone than skate, but he was well when he did skate it out. I also don’t have full entry numbers for skating this season atm, but Strome his first two seasons was in the 82nd percentile with carry % so that’s also very strong skating transition numbers.
Comment 3 recs
Yep. No one knew Kubalik and esp Suter were going to be anything at age 19.
Comment 1 reply
Well for comps sake, Borgstrom was the same age (22) and situation as Nylander the last time he was in the AHL/NHL.
Borgstrom just got regulated to the AHL after his rookie season vs Nylander who was hurt. And even their last NHL production wasn’t dissimilar with 0.4 for Nylander and 0.36 for Borgstrom with the latter playing with wildly lower quality of teammate on the whole.
I’m not sure languishing is the correct phrase, either, except maybe that last season for Nylander either. The issues he had with the Hawks were apparent in AHL and he wasn’t exactly lighting it up offensively enough to compensate for play away from the puck. Buffalo isn’t a great place for development, though, but I’m not surprised they didn’t elevate him sooner.
In a similar manner, Borgstrom also probably should have been given another shot in the NHL instead of me shoved into the AHL which just seemed to kill his confidence. My major concern when he was trade for was cause of that final AHL season where he looked disinterested but some Panthers friends said this was because his mojo was gone and he was so hesitant to do anything least it turn out poorly.
Ultimately, I think the Hawks have some guys with talent in Nylander, Borgstrom, and Strome but they’re all imperfect players at this point and/or need specific situations to play ideally. The latter may not be possible with the Hawks, but any of them could work out very well or be complete busts this next season. Gaudette is in there too but honestly his hands aren’t nearly as good as these other guys, though his speed is excellent.
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I'm excited to see Reichel in the NHL or AHL esp - just like how he plays.
His age will mean he might not translate fully this year (or even next). But def hope at least one of the other 3 hits this season – we can be a bit more impatient with them due to age (Gaudette is pretty much 25, Borgstrom is 24, and Nylander is 23)
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Counter argument: Liiga isn't near as good a league as the NHL so comparison is somewhat skewed by quality of league.
Of course, I think a lot of Strome’s issues are coaching so my perception is prob a bit skewed too lol. Idk either if it’s fair to say Nylander is pointing down – his dev curve just didn’t go up sharply in his first full season but it did technically go up a bit. He’s just so frustrating to watch though.
I'm kind of neutral on him now - trying to hope he'll be his NCAA self.
Ultimately I do think Strome is the better player – Borgstrom’s skating might end up being better than Strome’s now (hard to tell cause Liiga’s speed is not NHL speed), but Strome’s hands have always been better when it comes to playmaking, though Borgstrom does well there. I worry the same shortcomings that frustrate the coaching staff about Strome will be true for Borgstrom.
Comment 1 reply, 1 rec
His ranking is really more of a reflection on the lack of skilled forwards in the Hawks system than anything else.
Personally, I’m not super high on him being one of the successful reclamation projects, but Borgstrom is still like the 5th or 6th most raw skilled player under 25 for the Blackhawks. Everyone you mentioned except Nylander and Gaudette are ranked above him – def agree Nylander could be higher (splitting hairs on them imo) and Gaudette has his age working against him (he’s the oldest on the U25 list).
Either way, the fact is the Blackhawks have a lack of top-six potential forward talent in their prospect pool and some of the ones they have (Borgstrom, Nylander, maybe even Kurashev) don’t necessarily have high changes of making it in the NHL. This plus graduation of guys like Dach that the Hawks prospect pool isn’t considered one of the top one. Lots of potential complimentary guys or defensemen that could flip the switch to work out, but forwards with a particularly high skill are just limited.
Pronman has Vlasic ranked as the 5th best Blackhawks prospect with a third-pairing NHL floor this season.
He also was one of the rankers who had Vlasic as a first-rounder prior to his draft and then also ranked him top 10 prospect and U23 in the Hawks system right after. The only time Pronman was down on Vlasic was after his freshman year because Pronman ignores context beyond game situation lol. Meaning, he rated Vlasic more harshly for lack of offense despite Vlasic role being a shutdown defender that year, but he still said Vlasic had the tools to be an NHL defender. Pronman is high on Vlasic again because he produced but that actually makes me judge Pronman’s opinion cause that wasn’t that big a leap.
Wheeler is the Athletic guy that doesn’t care much for Vlasic – that might be who you’re thinking of for the other guy. He’s not wrong that Vlasic needs to clean up his puck game (nor offense, just general puck handling) even more, which is mentioned above. But imo Wheeler is someone who doesn’t evaluate defense-first types well. Like, he thought Ryan Shea (D) was a top 10 prospect for the Hawks despite the fact that Shea can’t really play defense – great offensively in college when he got to be a senior, but not good in his own end. He also still had guys like Nordgren ranked high due to juniors despite him making little to no progress in pro leagues.
Idk if Vlasic will live up to his potential but his projection has been "prob can be a NHL defender" with ceiling of top-4, even from those who don’t rate him particularly well.
Comment 1 reply
Can I ask why you thought this?
Even as a freshman, Vlasic was one of the top NCAA defensemen in terms of defense, and he was a bubble first rounder his draft class. He didn’t just start to show promise this season – he just started to put up points which is good but not actually the reason he moved up these ranks imo.
Just to note, Regula is not a defense-first player and never has been in his entire career.
Defense was the area in which he was fairly inconsistent with and was still last season with the Icehogs. He’s always been fine defensively, don’t get me wrong, but his strength was more in transition and using his skating/size combo to defend instead of good reads.
He’s gotten much better at that over the years, esp his last season in the OHL, but he had some translation issues to the AHL this past season. King did speak well of him, but he still didn’t play him about top 4 minutes – in fact, his time of ice seemed to go down/fluctuate as the season progressed – and not very much on the PK (also not new). Phillips performed better than him last season. Bumps when graduating to a professional league isn’t uncommon but it is something that will impact evaluations. Maybe AD will come out and talk about him more as the resident Rockford expert.
Either way, in comparison, Vlasic (and Kaiser prob) is the better defensive player at this point – better positioning, gap control, stick work, etc – and was when you comped their OHL/NCAA years too. Regula is better offensively, even if he had some issues converting this past season, and in pushing pace. Vlasic = defense-fist with some offense coming on; Regula = two-way but defense is a WIP.
But yes, honestly after the top 8/9, there’s no a huge difference in players – they’re all pretty much one big ball of prospects who had fairly equal opportunity to succeed or fail.
I think we're still just talking about preliminary stuff where they invite like 45+ players to be considered.
If that’s so, they might include Toews depending on what happens at the Hawks camp (i.e is he healthy). Same with Murphy – he isn’t making the final USA team but he’ll likely get an invite to the prelim stuff.
There are 4 Hawks that are locks: Kane, Debrincat, Flower, and Kubalik at this point. They’d all have to really be bad to start the NHL season to not be on the final roster come January imo. Jones and Kurashev are close to locks with Reichel being a high possibility – again pending how they are to start the season. Everyone else are just much lower to non-existent chances.
Comment 1 rec
Kurashev is def getting an invite to the Swiss team - he was really good for them at his last two World Championships
Also I’d bet Lankinen goes for Finland just due to his 2019 WC performance.
Comment 2 recs
Kane was already a star before then though - it's uncommon for skaters to break out at 25 or later.
That’s backed up by lots and lots of research. There are always exceptions – like Verhaeghe* – but those are outliers more than anything else. I hope Gaudette is such an outlier but probability says it’s unlikely.
*and arguably Verhaeghe’s breakout was due to lack of opportunity in a role that suited him rather than him suddenly being good at 25 but still an example.
Gaudette was one of the hardest players for me to rank, mostly because of his age
He’ll be 25 already when the regular season starts and this is pretty much his last year to really prove he can hang. I actually originally had him off my list because of this but ended up sliding him in over Hardman just for NHL experience alone. There is also worry that he’ll be able to get good offensive results again but his defense will still be trash, which is something we don’t need more of on the team. Hoping he’s going to prove naysayers (including myself) wrong.
I feel like more than ever, anyone outside the top 10 are just wild cards – they could be nothing, hit it big, or at least become useful if not spectacular players in the NHL. There’s just so much room for some of the guys.
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