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American Prospects Creating Their Own Fireworks For a Blackhawks Future

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On the celebration of the nation’s birth, four of the Blackhawks prospects from the States had quite the fireworks show last season. Gavin Hayes, Oliver Moore, Sam Rinzel, and Frank Nazar not only captured gold at the World Juniors, they each their own impressive seasons respectively.

Nazar had a cup of coffee in Chicago after a Frozen Four appearance and a highlight reel pass against Michigan State in the NCAA tournament. Moore started his season slowly but was on fire once returning from the World Juniors. Rinzel saw his game jump–including a greater attention to one of his weaknesses. Hayes for his part, grew in leadership and was a point-per-game in the OHL playoffs for the Soo Greyhounds.

All considered, it’s a little red, white, and boom for the four American Blackhawks prospects.

Blackhawks Prospects Sending Off Fireworks of Their Own on the Ice

Moore spoke to the World Juniors as being a catalyst for his improved performance after a slow start to the season.

“[A] slow start for sure, not the start I wanted just offensively with the adjustments that were being made,” Moore said.  “Adversity is good, learned to deal with it a lot this year andI feel like I had to gain a lot of confidence especially after winning World Juniors, which is obviously an unbelievable experience as well.”

Moore had 21 points (7-14) out of his 33 following the World Juniors gold, with seven of his nine goals coming in that stretch, too.

Hayes nearly replicated his output from a year prior–his five less points a result of playing 11 fewer games. He fell four short of another 40 goal season, but in 11 playoff games, he put up 16 points (7-9). Now heading to Rockford, Hayes has a crack at taking the next big step.

Rinzel was particularly pleased with his improvement, one that netted him Minnesota’s Rookie of the Year award. Tightening up his work in his own end was something he sought to better and indeed, he did without losing productivity offensively.

“For me, a knock on me was my defensive ability and that took big strides this year,” Rinzel said.  “Going up a level to the college level, I was making sure I was shutting down players and using my abilities and my skating and everything, my reach.”

Of the four, the most buzz surrounded Nazar because he was the closest to the NHL of his American teammates.  He of course scored his first career goal in his first career game with the Blackhawks.

The four Americans who captured gold are certainly making a declaration they’re all a step closer to Chicago.

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