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Blackhawks Rebuild Report: IceHogs Offense Heating Up

Mario Tirabassi Avatar
November 25, 2022

Hopefully everyone had a good American Thanksgiving holiday and you have awoken from your turkey and gravy induced comas. The Chicago Blackhawks have seen the proverbial “crash to Earth” in recent weeks, falling from the point in the NHL standings where we asked, “are they too good to tank?” shortly before realizing no, no they are not. At 6-10-3, heading into their game against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday afternoon, Chicago is back in the running for a top-three draft pick at the 2023 NHL Draft.

With that in mind, and between stuffing your face with leftover stuffings, here’s this week’s edition of the Rebuild Report.

Mario’s Notebook: The Rise of Samuel Savoie

  • Maybe we aren’t paying enough attention to one of the newest Blackhawks prospects that have been flying under everyone’s radar, except for Jay Zawaski. That would be 2022 draft pick Samuel Savoie.
  • Playing for the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL, Savoie has been on an offensive tear as of late, rocketing to the top of the Blackhawks’ prospect system scoring charts. With 12 goals and 22 points in 20 games this season, Savoie is part of a three-way tie with Arthur Kayumov and Kevin Korchinski to lead all U24 Blackhawks prospects in points.
  • His game is not necessarily predicated on him scoring points, but it helps. The comparisons to Andrew Shaw came very quickly for Savoie once he was drafted into the Chicago organization. But off the top of my head, I can’t remember a time when Andrew Shaw had as long of a point streak that Savoie currently has in the QMJHL. In the month of November, Savoie has accrued 17 points over a nine-game point streak. He also has registered at least one shot on goal in 19 of his 20 games this season.
  • Who is Colton Dach, besides being former Blackhawk Kirby Dach’s younger brother?
  • Point to Colton for not saying he wanted to be a Doctor if he wasn’t a hockey player. Rather, he would want to be a detective. I can imagine him as a detective shouting, “You’re off the case, Bobrovsky!”
  • That’s a deep cut.
  • All of the talk about goalies for the Blackhawks in their prospect system focuses on Drew Commesso and Arvid Söderblom, but we should not be counting out former sixth-round pick Dominic Basse.
  • After two unassuming seasons at Colorado College, Basse transferred to St. Cloud State and has been part of a tandem with Jaxon Castor that has the Huskies sitting third in the country.
  • Basse has now twice this season been named the NCHC goaltender of the week.
  • He holds a 6-1-0 record this season with two shutouts and boasts an NCAA-best .948 save percentage.
  • Now, let’s not ignore what Drew Commesso has done this season either. In his last start, Commesso backstopped Boston University to a 5-2 win over Notre Dame.
  • After a slow start to the season hampered by injury, Commesso holds a 6-2-0 record and a .915 save-percentage for the Terriers this season. Boston remains just outside the NCAA Top Ten, sitting at No. 11 in the country with a 7-4-0 record.
  • In that same game between Boston and Notre Dame, Commesso was foiled by a fellow Blackhawks prospect as Landon Slaggert notched his first goal of the season.
  • It’s been a tough go this season for Slaggert. He has just one goal and two assists in 13 games for the Irish in his third NCAA season. He and the team came into the year with very high expectations, but a slow start from him and a 6-6-2 record have seen Slaggert and Notre Dame fall to No. 19 in the country, down from their No. 9 ranking to begin the season.
  • One final NCAA note, keep an eye on Providence defenseman Taige Harding, a third-round pick for the Blackhawks in the 2021 Draft Class. Harding is making his first full appearance for the Friars this season after joining the program mid-way through last season. The 6’7″ defenseman had one assist in 15 games in 2021-22, but has become a bigger contributor in his second year with eight points in 13 games to begin this season.
  • Connor Bedard has 48 points in 22 WHL games this season, leading the league. He is on a 21-game point streak after being held off the scoresheet in the first game of the season. That streaks rides into Vancouver tonight as the Regina Pats take on the Vancouver Giants.
  • Adam Fantilli no longer leads the NCAA in scoring after being surpassed by Ryan McAllister of Western Michigan. But Fantilli and the Michigan Wolverines look to make a big statement tonight when they host No. 9 Harvard, the only matchup of the night with two top-ten teams facing one another.
  • Speaking of scoring streaks, 2023 Draft prospect Will Smith saw his 22-game point streak end on Wednesday night for the USNTDP. Still, in 28 combined games for the U.S. program, Smith has 21 goals and 53 points. He’s one to keep an eye on for Blackhawks fans worried that the team will not be selecting in the top-three of the 2023 NHL Draft.
  • Smith finds himself on Chris Peters’ Team USA predictions for the upcoming 2023 World Junior Championships roster. A roster that is highly unlikely to feature any Blackhawks U.S.-born eligible prospects.

Greg’s Notebook: IceHogs offense keeps on clicking

  • The Rockford IceHogs played three times since the last Rebuild Report and took four out of six possible points. They swapped 4-3 wins with the Chicago Wolves on Friday and Saturday before finishing their week on Thanksgiving Eve with a 7-2 beatdown of the Texas Stars.
  • The IceHogs are up to fourth place in the AHL Central Division with 17 points. They are one point out of second place and trail the division-leading Milwaukee Admirals by five points. Their 60 goals are tied with the Admirals for the most in the Central.
  • Having a high-powered offense is something new in Rockford. Normally this has been a team that needed its goaltending to stand on its head to scratch out a 2-1 win. This season, they are getting in high-scoring contests on a frequent basis. They have three of the top ten scorers in the entire AHL. David Gust sits fourth with 21 points. Brett Seney is tied for sixth with 20 points, and Luke Philp is 10th with 18 points. All three players were free-agent acquisitions this past offseason.
  • Seney led the way versus the Stars with two goals and four points. He also led the team with seven shots on goal. The 26-year-old forward has only been held off the scoresheet three times this season. He is on pace to set a new career high in points. He had 59 points in 62 games last season for the Toronto Marlies.
  • Michal Teply has been very impactful since returning from injury. He had two goals versus the Wolves on Saturday, including the game-winner in overtime. Teply has three goals and nine points in his last eight games.
  • After being held off the scoresheet in the two-game set with Chicago, Lukas Reichel found the back of the net against Texas. He is still a point-per-game player with seven goals and 15 points in 15 games.
  • Alex Vlasic scored his first career AHL goal against the Wolves on Saturday. He wasn’t the only defensive prospect to find the scoresheet this past week. Jakub Galvas picked up his 11th assist, which leads all blueliners. Isaak Phillips had two assists in Saturday’s win over the Wolves, followed by a goal and three points versus the Stars. He has two goals and 11 points this season. The 2020 fifth-round pick had 25 points in 64 games last season.
  • Speaking of young defenseman, Ian Mitchell was reassigned to Rockford Thursday morning after playing two games with the Blackhawks. He has two goals and five points in three AHL games.
  • The IceHogs have a big weekend ahead with a home-and-home series against the first-place Admirals, starting on home ice Friday night and concluding in Milwaukee on Saturday.
  • Ilya Safonov did not have any points this past week, but he was named captain of Ak Bars Kazan. The 21-year-old center became the youngest player to wear the “C” in franchise history. He has 10 goals and 15 points in 31 games.
  • Artur Kayumov had Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s lone goal in Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Spartak Moskva. This season, the 2016 second-round pick has eight goals and 21 points in 32 KHL games.
  • Riku Tohila scored his 13th goal of the season over the weekend. The 2022 seventh-round pick now has 17 points in 23 games in Finland’s top junior league. The 6-foot-8 center has also racked up 43 penalty minutes.
  • Defenseman Michael Krutil was recently sent down to the Czech second-tier league. He appeared in two games this past week but did not find the scoresheet. He has 12 total games this year between Czechia’s top two leagues and is still looking for his first point.

By the way, we are having a CHGO Black Friday Sale! You can get up to 50% off select merchandise at the CHGO Locker today through the weekend.

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