As the Chicago Blackhawks head into the 2023-24 season, they have a loaded pipeline of prospects. Where it gets difficult, is determining exactly where they are on their journey and how that plays into their ranking.
Instead of writing a longer 2000+ word piece, CHN has opted to write ten shorter pieces that lays out the reasoning for the spot in their respective ranking. Believe me, looking at the list it’s not a simple notion outside of #1, which is a slam dunk. Essentially, the considerations with rankings worked like this:
- Where is this current prospect in their readiness with the Blackhawks? A Lukas Reichel is much closer compared to a Gavin Hayes
- How does the current prospect rank out in terms of their ceiling as opposed to other prospects on the list?
- How has the prospect performed within their respective league–and how does that league rank out against others?
Without further ado, we’ll start with the most obvious: Connor Bedard.
Connor Bedard is Easily the Blackhawks Top Prospect
There’s no debate here and it’s the rankings started at the top. Bedard is considered generational and will likely continue that route as he goes through his career. But he certainly has pressure on his shoulders–something the kid has been saddled with since being granted exceptional status to play in the Western Hockey League in 2020.
Bedard scored 72 goals with the Regina Pats last season, averaging 1.24 goals per game. During the World Juniors, he had 23 points (9-14) in seven international games to go with his gold medal.
Those numbers aren’t flukes. They’re showing he’s the real deal.
He now brings his game to the highest stage of competition and that’s the NHL.
Blackhawks ETA: 2023-24 Season
Barring an absolute meltdown or injury, Bedard will be suiting up with his familiar #98 on October 10th when he faces Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is no reason to send him back to Regina as his work is done there. Bets already exist on his Calder chances along with the number of goals he’ll score this season.
Those don’t exist unless it’s expected to see him in Chicago. It’s more about his development and how the team grows around him. Over the course of the next few years, players the Blackhawks have brought into the fold will make their way to Chicago. Some quicker than others obviously. There’s also the chance that some touted prospects struggle or fail to make the impact they’re expected to have.
Then there’s the gems who rise through the system.
Bedard is projected to be generational and makes this whole process of ranking those players a bit simpler. But from here, it certainly becomes a debatable task.