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Ethan Del Mastro Flourishing in Rockford: ‘He’s a Smart Hockey Player’

Ethan Del Mastro may very well be on the fast track to Chicago

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Brad Repplinger/Rockford IceHogs

Ethan Del Mastro has picked up with the Rockford IceHogs where he left off with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. The 6’4 defenseman has not only produced statistically, but has been one of head coach Anders Sorensen’s go-to guys on the blue line–in his rookie season.

His efforts have earned him an AHL All-Star nomination and those in both Chicago and Rockford are taking notice.

“We’ve given him a heavy workload but he’s handled it very well,” Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson said. “He’s playing over twenty minutes a night, playing a lot of different situations. So he’s been great and obviously rewarded with an all-star nomination which is awesome.”

Awesome indeed for a team seeing a 19-year-old Kevin Korchinski and 22-year-old Alex Vlasic logging big and important minutes in Chicago.  It might not be much longer before the 21-year-old Del Mastro finds his way on the blue line with them. After all, his first professional season has been what they hoped for and more.

“Coming in as a first year player, it’s been impressive to see his composure and poise with the puck,” Sorensen noted. “For a bigger guy he handles it well. He absorbs pressure well and play well through traffic. It’s very impressive.”

Del Mastro Showing a Complete Compete For the IceHogs

When the Blackhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 draft, Del Mastro was viewed as more of a stay at home defenseman. But his time with Mississauga and then with Sarnia revealed an offensive side of his game that rounded him out more. That continued with Rockford and Del Mastro immediately deflects his success to his teammates and the coaching staff.

“They’ve given me a lot of chances with the first unit on the power play and it’s been awesome,” Del Mastro said. “To be able to get that as a rookie–you have to thank the coaching staff.”

Del Mastro is quick to remind though he has four goals and 18 points in his rookie campaign, it’s his work on the other end of the ice that has earned him what he has.

“I think it’s key to not forget about the defensive side and it’s what got me here and been my bread and butter.”

With the injuries to the Blackhawks, there’s been more put on the younger players who have had to step up as their roles changed and necessitated more from them. Sorensen pointed out Del Mastro’s ease in acclimating to his new surroundings quickly and almost effortlessly.

“He’s a real good personality–I know the older guys like him,” Sorensen said.  “He’s a smart hockey player and a smart person and has a real calm demeanor about him. Just navigating the first year of pro life–it’s been impressive to see it.”

As for the all-star nomination, Del Mastro was humbled and appreciative.

“I’m super honored to be picked from our team,” Del Mastro said.  “The way our staff has been able to accommodate a lot of our young guys coming in–they’re obviously giving us some chances and it’s awesome to see that.”

If this keep ups, those chances might be coming in Chicago next.

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