Back in the Fall, Chicago Hockey Now ranked the top 10 prospects in the Chicago Blackhawks pipeline. Those rankings had Connor Bedard sitting at the top of the list–while only being in the organization for three months. The fourth and fifth ranked prospects were a 4A/4B argument and for our purposes, we’re starting with Frank Nazar.
Current Team: University of Michigan
Stats: 10 Goals; 14 Assists; 24 Points
Drafted: 2022 13th overall by Kyle Davidson
So, How’s It Going?
Nazar is producing over a point-per-game for the Michigan Wolverines, a team that has not been as strong as last year’s iteration that went to the Frozen Four. This is something that may factor in–along with Nazar’s performance at both the national and international level–that earns him a contract once the season is over.
Ranking Higher, Lower, Holding, or Graduated?
Ranked higher – he’s the Blackhawks top prospect now (in CHN’s rankings anyway) as Bedard, Reichel, and Korchinski are all graduated from the pipeline.
Now and Later: Where Does Frank Nazar Fit In the Grand Scheme of Things?
Nazar is likely putting pen to paper once Michigan’s season comes to an end. If Nazar helps key a little burst of improvement for the Wolverines, it will only cinch that entry-level deal being signed. Nazar dazzled on the international stage for the gold medal winning United States squad. No one is surprised anymore by his progress, similar to when he rocketed up the draft board back in 2022.
Nazar slots into Chicago’s future as a top six forward. Much of that will be affected by where the Hawks pick in the draft–should they win out and get Mack Celebrini they have a one-two punch down the middle for a decade if indeed Celebrini is as good as advertised. If they don’t get the top spot and take a wing or defenseman, Nazar is likely the second line center in his place.
But he’s also versitile. Put him on the wing with Bedard? That will get fans salivating thinking about the potential there. The other thought too, touched on when looking at Lukas Reichel and how he slots in, is that a dynamic playmaker such as Nazar just might be the guy to get Reichel going.
I’m still standing by my earlier work that Nazar breaks camp with the Blackhawks. A strong finish with Michigan will likely make that path to Chicago even clearer.