The Chicago Blackhawks season hasn’t turned out the way most fans were hoping, and with the way they have played, their season can be considered over. Unless by some miracle, this will mark the first season the Blackhawks will not make the playoffs under head coach Joel Quenneville. We can, however, look forward to three up and comers, players that you’ll see in the coming years that will help form the new nucleus of the Chicago Blackhawks. For the sake of not stating the obvious, we’ll skip out on players that have already been on the Blackhawks roster this year or in past years.
1. Henri Jokiharju
Jokiharju was the Blackhawks first round draft choice in this years NHL entry draft. Although we may not see him for another year, he is a very exciting prospect. He sits at six foot and 187 lbs and has been known as an “offensive” defensemen. There is no doubt that he has loads of talent and given a year or two at the college level, he can become a solid starting defenseman for the Hawks. Look for the young defensemen to crack the lineup as early as 2019.
2. Chad Krys
Maybe a lesser known name, Krys is another defenseman that has an offensive game, and he’s quite an interesting prospect. He was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the 2016 NHL entry draft. Sitting at 5’11 and at 185 lbs, he’s a touch shorter than Jokiharju, however, they are almost one in the same. He has been considered an “offensive” defenseman and is great with the puck, however, he still needs a little work defensively. Expect Krys to get his shot to make an impact for the Blackhawks as early as 2021.
3. Andrei Altybarmakyan
A guy that wasn’t even ranked in the top 100 by either TSN or ESPN, the Hawks took the forward in the third round of the 2017 draft. He is comparable to the Hawks 2016 second round pick, Artur Kayumov, however, he has a slight size advantage. The Hawks need more size and toughness on the front end and Altybarmakyan could provide it. What impresses me about the third rounder is his skill level. He is a very raw talent but his talent is very tantalizing. I don’t expect to see Altybarmakyan to crack the lineup in the next two to three years, but he could possibly be seen by 2022 and beyond.
All three prospects covered here have a chance to provide the Hawks with a young core in the coming years, and the upside is fantastic. We know that Stan Bowman has always had a way with finding players and making tight salary cap situations work, and it looks like with these three, he may have struck gold again. Jokiharju, Krys and Altybarmakyan, hopefully coming to a screen near you in the near future!