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The Entry-Level Deal for Nick Lardis is Another Step Forward For the Rebuild

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Nick Lardis and his Brantford Bulldogs may be trailing in the best-of-seven series 2-1 to the Ottawa 67’s, but he just won big when it comes to his future with the Chicago Blackhawks. Lardis and the Hawks agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal on Wednesday.

It hardly comes as a surprise as prior to an injury in the middle of January, Lardis had 29 goals along with 50 points in just 37 games. Upon his return for the first round of the OHL playoffs, Lardis opened with a pair of goals and currently has four points in the first three games.

Apparently, general manager Kyle Davidson and his front office saw enough to have Lardis put pen to paper.

Nick Lardis Has Been A Scoring Machine for Brantford

Only injury could slow Lardis’ goal scoring, a winger who grew up a big fan of Patrick Kane. At one point, Lardis was tied for second in the entire League in goals. The remarkable feat slowed as he sat the next two months out, but the young forward has picked up where he left off, scoring at a goal-per-game pace in the playoffs.

But it’s the fact that the Blackhawks third-round pick has an entry-level deal not even a year to his draft date is another positive sign for Davidson’s rebuild. Gavin Hayes had a similar experience, signing exactly a year ago today following a goal scoring bonanza in the OHL, too.

There’s no surprise that Davidson and director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey are targeting high IQ, speedy, goal scoring forwards who make right what has gone wrong so many times this season.

A lack of scoring.

Surely, some of it has been by design, though it wasn’t supposed to go like this. Besieged by injury and some bad luck too, the Blackhawks are significantly below last season’s goal total. But the young talent rising through the ranks are scoring at will. It’s also encouraging that another non first-round pick has put up the numbers that he has.

But as Davidson said back in January, it has to transfer over to the NHL level.

“It only matters if they get to the NHL and deliver here,” Davidson said. “We’re going to keep working with them, but the early returns are very positive.”

Indeed they are–and it’s why Nick Lardis inked his entry-level deal today.

Now he needs to continue to deliver.

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