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Stock Index: Cole Guttman, Frank Nazar, & Nick Lardis Shine Friday

The future continues to shine as Cole Guttman, Frank Nazar, and Nick Lardis all have a great Friday night

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Photo courtesy of Rockford Ice Hogs/Brad Repplinger

Cole Guttman was a spark plug for the Blackhawks, playing hard and zipping around the ice with ferocity. So when he was sent back to the Rockford IceHogs with a number of forwards fighting for spots in Chicago, the 24-year-old took some time to acclimate and find his spot.

After a three point night Friday against Milwaukee in a 5-1 Rockford win, it’s safe to say that he’s not only found that spot–but absolutely dominated it.

“He does it all for us, right?” Rockford head coach Anders Sorensen said. “He’s been on a tear, found some chemistry with Brett Seney and Rem Pitlick–it’s nice to see. We rely on him a lot, we trust him a lot in all situations and he’s been really good for us.”

If not great. It was Guttman who settled a rolling puck with four seconds left against the Wolves and flung it cross ice to Pitlick, who buried it with just a tenth of a second left. Against the Milwaukee Admirals Friday night, he added a goal and two assists, giving him 36 points in 35 games with the IceHogs.

At what point does he potentially get called back up? Or at this point, is he just too valuable for the IceHogs to give up–especially in their recent surge as they head toward the playoffs?

Guttman has 12 goals in his past 13 games, with another 10 assists to go with it. It’s an absolutely insane pace to see 22 points in a baker’s dozen worth of games.

But it’s another good problem for the Blackhawks to have. Depending on how the 2024 NHL Draft goes–meaning another lottery win likely changes the Blachkawks roster approach slightly, Guttman’s continued pace should earn him another hard look in Chicago and perhaps a longer stay.

The IceHogs are 11-2 during Guttman’s torrid stretch, the start beginning with a goal and an assist. How will it end?

However it does, the IceHogs and Guttman hope it’s late into the spring.

Along with Cole Guttman, Frank Nazar and Nick Lardis Light It Up Friday

Lardis played in his first game since January 12, and didn’t waste much time in scoring two goals in Brantford’s 5-2 victory in their OHL playoff opener. The Blackhawks third-round pick in 2023 picked up where he left off, burying the first two markers of the contest.

Sidelined with an upper body injury, Lardis burst back onto the scene and set the pace for the Bulldogs in the victory. With 29 goals in 37 games, this could be tip of the iceberg for Lardis in the postseason.

Frank Nazar, meanwhile, continues on with the Michigan Wolverines following a 4-3 victory over North Dakota in the NCAA semi finals. Nazar tied the game for the Wolverines early, banging a rebound home to even things at one. Active as usual, Nazar was a pest and was out in the final minute as the Wolverines fought off one final gasp.

Now, they get a rematch with Michigan State on Sunday–which if they win, puts the Wolverines back into the Frozen Four. It also would avenge the overtime loss the Spartans handed Michigan in the Big Ten title game.

A loss–well perhaps Nazar joins former Big 10 foe Landon Slaggert in Chicago. In what has been a great two days for Blackhawks prospects, the weekend will feature more postseason watching for Lardis, Nazar, and several others that include Oliver Moore, Ryan Greene, and Sam Rinzel tonight.

As for Cole Guttman, he has just under a month before he can make his statement in the postseason.

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