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. For a little bit of a veer off, how about the some of the prospects who were considered but didn’t make the top ten? Let’s continue with Nick Lardis.
Current Team: Brantford Bulldogs
Stats: 29 Goals; 21 Assists; 50 Points
Drafted: 2023 67th overall (3rd round) by Kyle Davidson
What Kept Him Out of the Top 10?
Nothing more than needing to show a repeat performance. Along with Vlasic, Lardis was another vying for that 10 A/B/C/D argument as his scoring was already impressive last season along with the speed that goes with it. He’s shown with 29 goals this year already that there’s no fluke.
Ranking Higher, Lower, Holding, or Graduated?
Higher. Lardis has moved into top five conversation with how well he’s been this season. At one point, he was second in goals in the Ontario Hockey League
Now and Later: Where Does Nick Lardis Fit In the Grand Scheme of Things?
Lardis will be watched closely as his scoring prowess is certainly something to take note of. But his pace has been affected from an upper body injury that according to Brian Smiley of the Brantford Expositor, will keep him out indefintely. He was first scratched on January 13th right before puck drop, when Brantford defeated Barrie 4-3. But he hasn’t played in the last two weeks and is week-to-week.
That doesn’t affect the standings in CHN’s prospect rankings, though. Lardis’ ability to find the net is valuable and the injury status doesn’t cloud that. Paul Ludwinski is still having himself a season and his was shut down last season due to an ankle injury.
Lardis is going to still be at least a season away from Chicago–especially if the injury does become more long term. But it gives the Blackhawks another intriguing scoring option to watch along with Gavin Hayes, Landon Slaggert, Oliver Moore, Frank Nazar, and Ludwinski among others.
For a third round pick, he may very well turn out to be a steal. But getting healthy is all that matters for both Lardis and the Hawks.