Ask Jarred Tinordi about the Blackhawks’ “kids” on the blueline–Kevin Korchinski, Wyatt Kaiser, and Alex Vlasic, and they’re just more than alright during a seven game stretch that has seen some tough competition.
“They’ve been great,” Tinordi said. “The poise of the young guys, how old is Korchinski–he’s 19? The poise I’ve seen out of those two guys (Kaiser, Korchinski) has been great. Their work ethic, their habits, day-to-day in practice has been really impressive so far.”
Chicago might be 2-5 but the younger players they’re relying on–Korchinski, Kaiser, Vlasic, Connor Bedard and Lukas Reichel–have held their own despite the gauntlet of a schedule.
‘They’re Good Players’
This isn’t a “in-spite-of-the-results” argument, either. What it does look at, however, is that things could be a whole heck of a lot worse. When the final rosters were submitted and they opted to keep the younger players, it turned into a “will-it-work” argument.
Flash forward seven games later with many of those games against Stanley Cup Champions and contenders.
In short? So far, so good.
“They’re good players and they’re here for a reason,” Tinordi said. “There’s a reason those guys are in this room. They can handle these moments, they can handle playing the minutes that they’re playing. We saw it in training camp; we’ve seen it here at the start of the year. I don’t think it’s an issue for those guys at all.”
Then there’s Philipp Kurashev, who in his first game back, earned rave reviews from Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson. Perhaps not as much of a kid with nearly 200 NHL games to his name, but he may very well be helping them soon.
“I thought he was excellent,” Richardson said. “I thought he was probably our best player tonight. We tried to bump him up at the end to see how that looked and it certainly looked pretty good. That’s something we’ll consider to move forward with, him with Connor. him and even Nick and Connor.”
Kurashev just turned 24, and may not be as young as the others, but he’s still below 25. But a chance on the top line with Bedard? That’s a possibility.
Then there’s Lukas Reichel who is still struggling to find the scoresheet. There’s progress, but also lessons to learn.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated but you have to get harder and more determined,” Richardson said. “That’s pro hockey and I think he showed some signs again tonight.”
The Blackhawks have gone 1-5 since opening the season with a victory. They’re not looking for moral victories and they’re certainly not looking for false hope. Don’t forget about Arvid Soderblom, either, who has been strong in net
The record isn’t what they want, and realistically, it’s likely to dip further. But the young core being built is showing strong returns early–a good thing–since they’re ultimately the future if the rebuild is to be put into the past.