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Blackhawks Prospects

Brown: The Frank Nazar ELC Quickly Burns a Year–But It’s the Smart Move

Kyle Davidson is making another calculated move–and it’s again the smart–and right one.

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Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson has been honest that if burning a year of a contract was in the best interest of a prospect and the organization, he would do it. So here we are with Frank Nazar, who signed his entry-level deal today but will see that first year disappear without as much as a quarter of a season’s worth of games.

In fairness, he’s already played 41 at the college level–plus a lengthy stint in the World Junior Championship which came with a gold medal at the end. But the other questions remain–from whether it’s beneficial to his development or if he’s being rushed. But if there’s one area Hawks fans should be encouraged by, it’s the development occurring in Rockford.

A couple names like Alex Vlasic, and Ethan Del Mastro  should remind.

Though it might mean bouncing up and down at times from Rockford to Chicago, the opportunity to play meaningful hockey deeper into the spring and at a professional level is just too enticing to pass up.

Even though it burns an entire year’s worth of a contract.

Frank Nazar Has a Similar Situation As Kevin Korchinski One Season Ago

Kevin Korchinski faced a similar situation with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season–stay another year or go it in Chicago for an entire one? The AHL option wasn’t available for him because of the agreement between the CHL and NHL so why have him lose another season playing junior hockey? Yes, Korchinski has experienced growing pains, but there’s a strong argument that he hasn’t had the equivalency in pairings that his counterparts have. Korchinski has often tried to do too much, which at times has led to the puck ending up in Chicago’s net. But let’s face it, he’s not alone as one of the catalysts for that.

So Nazar’s situation is actually more advantageous. Not only can he play in Rockford, but he can jump into a meaningful playoff race while having what might be a couple of games with the Blackhawks. Getting those first couple of games with the Blackhawks and then going to Rockford for a few before playoff hockey is a great transition.

After all, he’s already in the mode–gutting out a Big Ten Tournament, two rounds of the playoffs, and then a Frozen Four appearance. If there’s ever a time to ride that momentum, now’s the time. He’s showed plenty skill wise and the Blackhawks could use that high hockey IQ–and even develop it some more at a higher level.

Contractually the Hawks will be staring down some scenarios in a couple of years, but Davidson has been clearing the decks for two years now of contracts. Short term deals have been offered–and inked–for a reason. Besides, it won’t be every prospect signing three-year, entry-level contracts only to burn a year by playing a smattering of games.

It’s understandable why some would be curious with this, but this is precisely what Davidson has said he would do. Every player would be assessed differently, and those same players would get what they need.

It’s the smart way to approach it on paper. Now we’ll see how it plays out over the course of two years, with the Blackhawks brass believing that the decision will pay dividends later on.

But if there’s any player who will likely garner that return on investment, it’s Frank Nazar.

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