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AJ Spellacy Sums the Blackhawks Third Round Picks Well: ‘Speed Kills’

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LAS VEGAS – It’s going to lead to some cringey ledes and headlines should John Mustard make the big club. But it was AJ Spellacy who summed up what the Blackhawks targeted in the third-round of the 2024 NHL Draft.

“I think speed kills,” Spellacy said. “So if you have speed, as a team, it means it’ll be a lot easier to win games.”

That’s the plan for sure. Chicago has been consistent in how it selects prospects and there was no shift here. All three of the Blackhawks third-round picks have afterburners on their skates and each spoke about how they utilize that speed uniquely. For Mustard, it’s the consistent effort he makes as fine tuning his skating.

“I think it’s just the ice time,” Mustard said.  “I skate in the summer and during the season. I think the repetitiveness just becomes a habit. I think my stride has become a lot better throughout the years.”

Mustard put up 56 points (29-27) for Muskegon last season while Spellacy had 38 points (21-17) for the Windsor Spitfires. Final pick of the round Jack Pridham chipped in 49 points (23-26) for West Kelowna of the BCHL.

Speed and scoring stands out. But Spellacy brings another piece that will add some snarl to the prospect pool.

AJ Spellacy Brings a Physical Component to Beef Up the Pipeline

Spellacy, though, differs as he separates himself with his physicality which provides a different dimension for a team built on speed, skill and scoring.

“I think that’s a big part,” Spellacy said.  “Goes with wearing the other team down. If you play that hard, you get in their head. If they’re scared of you they’re not going to do their best against you.”

But he also names it as his favorite part of his game.

“Obviously there aren’t too many guys who are physical nowadays,” Spellacy said. “So playing that physical role, everyone in the NHL needs someone like that. so, I think that’s something that’s going ot keep me there for a long time.”

Pridham, whose father is the assistant general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs is no stranger to the Draft process. But the excitement still got to him–as it naturally should. Describing himself as having “good hockey sense, shot and skating,” it’s how he described his intangibles.

“I can use my skating with and without the puck,” Pridham noted.  “I like to hound pucks on the forecheck.”

So strength in forechecking, physicality and of course speed. Another hat trick of picks, this time in the third-round, continues to bolster a very strong prospect pipeline.

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