Phillips, Luypen & Team USA

Regardless of how your favorite NHL team is going, many fans are always looking to the future. When it comes to Chicago Blackhawks, it’s easy to look back on the 2010 Stanley Cup wins, but those days are over. In our new casual column, I’ll highlight some prospects who are doing well with their current teams. Whether in the American Hockey League (AHL), juniors or overseas in Europe, we’ll keep you up to date with the young players making their way to the NHL.

Isaak Phillips adds offense to his game

One of the best stories about the bizarre 2020-21 hockey season is Phillips’ appearance in the Blackhawks organization. The 6-foot-3 defender was drafted in the fifth round (141) of the 2020 NHL Admissions Draft. He was ready to play with the Sudbury Wolves, but when the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Postponing its season, he was fit for the AHL. Normally, he wouldn’t be allowed to play with IceHogs because of his age, but the rules have been changed to allow players to gain precious frozen time in the uncertain pandemic world.

Phillips had his first success with professional hockey. In 27 matches with the AHL, he has two goals and nine points. He has gone from a relatively unknown prospect to a cornerstone of the Rockford defense in a short time. He played too well; the Blackhawks sign him an entry level contract on March 31, 2021.

Isaak Phillips Rockford IceHogs
Phillips is increasing his depth chart. (Todd Reicher / Rockford IceHogs)

The 20-year-old enters 2021-22 with confidence on a new level after an impressive NHL training camp. He was once IceHogs’ top pairing when he was on the roster. He has done his NHL debut on October 29 against Hurricane Carolina and played in three games with the Blackhawks.

Phillips played solidly defensively, rating negative 1 for a team with a goal difference of minus 12 during the season. Recently, he has shown that he can also bring some offense. This is a big step for IceHogs, who are currently without two top scorers Brett Conolly and Lukas Reichel due to injury. Phillips has two goals and four points in his last seven games along with 10 shots on goal.

“I think the extra point from defense is huge,” Phillips told me when asked about his recent contributions. “We are not a team that will score five, six, seven goals every night. We’re a team that’s going to crush games and getting some extra points is great for us. The first thing to do is to do the right thing on the defensive side of the ball. It doesn’t change your game. Doing the right things defensively will also make things happen to you on the offensive side. “

Related – IceHogs ‘Slavin & Phillips Leads Youth Movement

As a bonus, Phillips had his parents, Curt and Joan, make a trip down from Canada to watch him compete. They were in attendance when he scored his first goal of the season against the Chicago Wolves on November 27.

“It was great for them to see a trilogy of three. That was the first time they saw me play at Rockford. It’s great to get a goal in front of them. It was a bit of extra motivation for them in the crowd. ”

Phillips continues to make rapid progress and is finalizing the org chart. His ability to play on ice and his likeable personality will make him a fan favorite in Chicago, hopefully, for years to come.

Jalen Luypen tore it up in Edmonton

We’re moving from a final gem from the 2020 draft type to a likely stolen gem from the most recent draft. Luypen taken by Blackhawks 216order overall (seventh round) this past July. The 5-foot-10, 157-pound forward had a good season with the Western Hockey League (WHL) Edmonton Oil Kings, scoring 16 goals and 29 points in 23 games.

Luypen is proving those numbers aren’t a fluke as he has nine goals and 28 points in his first 25 WHL games of the season. He can play in both center and wing, as the versatility will serve him well while trying to cut it down in the pro ranks.

Luypen was part of the rookie team that played a game against the top Minnesota Wild prospects just before the season began. He is lined up with Josiah Slavin, another former player in the seventh round in the NHL. He recently told The Athletic’s Scott Powers what the Blackhawks are looking for in him.

“A lot of conversations when it comes to player development, (Brandon) Hagel’s name comes up a lot,” said Luypen. “When I watch their games, they want me to watch Hagel every time he is on the ice. They see me like him in the future, and I totally see that. Interesting. That’s basically what I’ve been hearing from them. “

From “Promising Blackhawks, Jalen Luypen hopes to follow in Brandon Hagel, Josiah Slavin’s footsteps,” by Scott Powers – The Athletic, 2/2/21

With the success of Phillips, Slavin and Luypen, the Blackhawks look set to get some great value out of their late-round picks. Now, if they could only figure out the beginning of the draft.

Four Blackhawks Prospects Named for Team America

Now that it’s December, which means it’s almost time for the IIHF World Youth Championship, which really is Christmas for those watching the NHL outlook. The United States is looking to become the first team to win consecutive gold medals since 2009, and they may have some hopes of the Blackhawks leading the way.

Team USA recently released their preliminary roster, and it includes four players drafted by the Blackhawks: goalkeeper Drew Commesso, forward Landon Slaggert, and defenders Wyatt Kaiser and Connor Kelly.

Introducing the preliminary lineup for the 2022 US National Junior Team! 🇺🇸 #WorldJuniors #USAWJC

Commesso was supposed to play in last year’s tournament but had to drop out due to a positive COVID test among his Boston University teammates. He should be the number one goalkeeper for the gold medal defense this time around. He has a 6-7-2 record averaging 2.82 goals versus and 0.900 percent of saves for the Terrier this season. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (46order overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft with selection obtained from the Vegas Golden Knights in Robin Lehner trade.

Slaggert was the only prospect of the Blackhawks returning from last year’s roster. He played in all seven games for Team America but failed to find his way up the scoreboard. This season, the 2020 third-round player has 5 goals and 10 points in 15 games for the University of Notre Dame.

Related – 2022 World Junior Championship Guide

Kaiser and Kelley are teammates at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and are looking to make their first WJC roster. Kaiser Is An Interesting Potential To Follow After Arrest 81st overall (third round) in 2020. Mobile defender has one goal and six points in 12 games. Kelley has always been a standout defensive player at every level he has played. Overcoming 12 picks against Luypen in the seventh round this past summer, he has four assists in 13 games this season with his plus six rating.

We’re expanding our Children’s World Championship coverage at The Hockey Writers before the tournament kicks off on December 26. Once the list is complete, I’ll dedicate this column to giving you know what prospects the Blackhawks should keep an eye on. In the meantime, check out all of our team’s previews here on the site, as well as the Prospect Corner, where we started our WJC preview this week. Phillips, Luypen & Team USA

Subhankar Mondal

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