It’s been a while. What’s going on with the Chicago Blackhawks prospects in the CHL and USHL, eh?
Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds
Stats: 65 points (8 G, 57 A), 48 PIM, 132 SOG in 49 games played
The mountain of points continues to build for Korchinski, who’s now third among WHL defensemen with 57 assists and sixth with 65 points. He had a four-assist game against the Victoria Royals on Feb. 18 and has the Thunderbirds sitting atop the WHL’s Western Conference with a 50-9-1-2 record as the regular season winds down.
One of Korchinski’s focuses this season has been on shooting the puck more — based on a training camp conversation with Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson — and all indications are that the tactic is working. Last month, Korchinski was moved up to No. 12 on this ranking from The Athletic of prospects who’ve already been drafted — up from No. 30 one year prior. There continues to be a lot to like here, folks.
Korchinski continues to see top-pairing minutes, skating in Seattle’s top four along with the next Blackhawks prospect on this list:
Nolan Allan, Seattle Thunderbirds
Stats: 24 points (9 G, 15 A), 46 PIM, 84 SOG in 51 games played
Allan does not have the offensive flair that Korchinski does and it shows in the numbers, with Allan having points in only three games out of the last 15. One of those games was a four-pointer (1 G, 3 A), though, against the Royals on Feb. 21.
Though Allan’s numbers may not jump off the screen in the way that Korchinski’s numbers do, he’s still providing quality defensive play that has helped Seattle ascend the standings and will be a key factor in the playoff push that begins at the end of this month.
Colton Dach, Seattle Thunderbirds
Stats: 23 points (10 G, 13 A), 27 PIM, 73 SOG in 19 games played
Dach played in his first game for Seattle on Feb. 18, marking his return from an injury that occurred during the World Juniors and his debut with the team that acquired Dach in a January trade. Dach played in five games for the Thunderbirds with one goal and five assists. But then he went right back on the injured list and has not played since March 4.
Gavin Hayes, Flint Firebirds
Stats: 72 points (36 G, 36 A), 30 PIM, 201 SOG in 62 games played
Hayes may have flown a bit under the radar as a third-round pick (66th overall) of the Hawks in the 2022 NHL Draft but his stock is trending up thanks to his sophomore season in the OHL. He’s been especially productive of late, tallying 20 points (10 G, 10 A) in the last 11 games, including a three-point night (2 G, 1 A) against the Guelph Storm on March 4 and a hat trick during a four-point night against the Erie Otters on Saturday.
Here’s one of the two goals that Hayes scored against the Oshawa Generals on Sunday:
With Flint now on a seven-game winning streak, it’s hard to imagine Hayes losing his spot on the Firebirds’ top line any time soon.
Paul Ludwinski, Kingston Frontenacs
Stats: 34 points (9 G, 25 A), 12 PIM, 90 SOG in 47 games played
Now to a prospect update that’s not as good. Ludwinski, a second-round pick (39th overall) in 2022, has played in just seven games since the last update and was not in the Kingston lineup last weekend.
Ludwinski played a handful of games in early February, then one on Feb. 26, then a pair of games over the first weekend of March.
No word on the extent of his injury, with Ludwinski being out of the lineup since March 3. He went without a point in the last three games as well.
Ethan del Mastro, Sarnia Sting
Stats: 54 points (7 G, 47 A), 67 PIM, 69 SOG in 47 games played
Back to the good news.
In the last four games, del Mastro has 8 points (1 G, 7 A) continuing his impressive performance since being traded to the Sarnia Sting a few months ago.
Ethan Del Mastro has been sensational since arriving here in Sarnia.— @StingUpdates (@StingUpdates) March 11, 2023
5 Goals, 27 Assists, +14 in 24 games. His goal last night was nasty.
Not a better defenceman in the #OHL. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/eKfsTrGFzf
It’s reaching the point where del Mastro doesn’t have much left to prove at this level of hockey, after putting together a stellar OHL season while also helping Canada claim gold at the World Juniors. What will be interesting is what happens when del Mastro proceeds to the next step of hockey. He signed with the Blackhawks last April and will likely be one of several prospects to join up with the IceHogs by next season.
Samuel Savoie, Gatineau Olympiques
Stats: 56 points (26 G, 30 A), 82 PIM in 54 games played
Savoie continues to pile up points at over a point-per-game pace but has cooled off a bit in the last month since a five-point game (2 G, 3 A) on Feb. 4.
Here’s a recent Savoie goal on a seeing-eye shot from the top of the left faceoff circle:
🍏 Cam MacDonald (#61 in white) picks up the secondary assist on this goal. He makes the drop pass to Tristan Luneau (ANA), who goes for a skate before dropping it to Samuel Savoie (CHI) for the goal.— Future Bolts (@LightningProsp1) March 10, 2023
That’s MacDonald’s first point since 2/8.
It’s hard to envision this season as anything other than a success for the Blackhawks’ third-round pick (81st overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft, as he continues to slot in on the top line in Gatineau:
Sam Rinzel, Waterloo Black Hawks
Stats: 31 points (9 G, 22 A), 24 PIM, 108 SOG in 44 games played
Rinzel picked up the pace lately with a five-point outburst in three games in early March, coming after a six-game stretch where the Blackhawks’ first-round pick had just one assist. He still has more shots on goal than any Waterloo defensemen and his total of 108 is tied for sixth in the entire USHL, suggesting he has the ability to get pucks on net — certainly not a bad trait for a blue-liner with offensive instincts among the traits made him a first-round pick.
Rinzel picked up a league-wide honor earlier this month:
Here’s Rinzel flashing a quick release for a goal on Friday:
Once he finishes up his USHL season with Waterloo, Rinzel will head north to the University of Minnesota to begin his college career.
Nils Juntorp, Dubuque Fighting Saints
Stats: 24 points (11 G, 13 A), 28 PIM, in 46 games played
Juntorp is on a massive goal drought, having not scored one in the last 15 games. He does have five assists, though, and has bounced around between the second and third lines for Dubuque all season:
Juntorp’s last goal came on Jan. 28 but he does have about a month of games left with the Fighting Saints this season to snap that long drought.