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BLOG: Gustafsson & Kruger commit to Sweden for Worlds

The tournament takes place May 10-26 in Slovakia

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson and forward Marcus Kruger (pending UFA) have both committed to representing Sweden at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, which takes place May 10-26 in Slovakia.

The pair of Blackhawks were named to Sweden's preliminary roster on Friday morning.

This will be Gustafsson's third World Championships. He went in 2015-16 and then again last year. The blueliner is coming off a breakout 2018-19 for Chicago in which he scored 17 goals and tallied 60 points in 79 games.

Kruger has represented Sweden three times before at Worlds. The last time was 2016-17. 

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BLOG: DeBrincat joins Kane on Team USA's roster

Kane and DeBrincat are listed among Team USA's first 17 players for Worlds

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat has joined Patrick Kane on Team USA's preliminary roster for the 2019 IIHF World Championship. The tournament takes place May 10-26 in Slovakia.

Tweet from @usahockey: #TeamUSA names its first 17 players to the 2019 U.S. Mens National Team. #IIHFWorlds 🇺Details https://t.co/j5QZHC8ZMT pic.twitter.com/cUfL4MIyTM

Kane was announced as the captain for the team earlier this week.

DeBrincat, 21, is coming off a sophomore campaign with the Blackhawks in which he tallied 41 goals and 76 total points in 82 games.

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BLOG: Crawford nominated for King Clancy Trophy

The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards in Las Vegas in June

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

The NHL released their list of nominees for the 2018-19 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is Chicago's representative on that list of nominees.

The group was selected by their respective NHL clubs. The winner will be chosen by a committee of senior NHL executives, including Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

The three finalists will be announced Tuesday, April 23 and the winner will be revealed at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 19. The winner will receive a $40,000 donation from the NHL Foundation to benefit a charity or charities of the player's choice. The two runner-ups will receive a $5,000 donation.

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BLOG: Pair of prospects named to Finland's roster

Henri Jokiharju and Kevin Lankinen are on Finland's preliminary roster for the 2019 IIHF World Championships

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

Blackhawks prospects Henri Jokiharju and Kevin Lankinen will join Finland's national team ahead of the 2019 IIHF World Championships in May.

Tweet from @leijonat: Tervetuloa Henri, Juho & Kevin! Kolme uutta nime mukana ensi viikon MM-leirityksess: https://t.co/p8k6WYqnOS #Leijonat @KLankinen @henrijokiharju @NHLBlackhawks @FlaPanthers pic.twitter.com/vq9OQX5sbr

Both will have their opportunity to make the squad and participate in the tournament, which runs May 10-26 in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.

Jokiharju has represented his home country on multiple stages, including the 2019 World Juniors earlier this year in which the defenseman and the Finns won gold.

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: "Two or three years from now he's going to look back on this when he's a steady player in the NHL and he's going to say 'that was probably the best thing for me.'"#HawksProspects https://t.co/acs8u2DGj0

Lankinen, a goalie, has also represented Finland before at the junior level in various stints.

They'll potentially join Patrick Kane at the tournament, who was named captain of Team USA on Monday. More Blackhawks are likely to officially commit to the tournament soon.

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BLOG: Entwistle scores twice to help Guelph advance

MacKenzie Entwistle and Guelph downed Adam Boqvist's London Knights in Game 7

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

In Game 7 on Tuesday night, MacKenzie Entwistle scored two goals in the third period to help close out a 6-3 victory for the Guelph Storm over Adam Boqvist and the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

The two Blackhawks prospects have battled things out in a series that began 3-0 in London's favor before the Storm bounced back to win four straight.

Tweet from @OHLHockey: Pair from @5twisty5 puts it away @NHLBlackhawks prospect adds 2 of insurance as @Storm_City secure series with a fourth straight win to become just fifth #OHL team to erase a 3-0 deficit.#OHLPlayoffs | #LDNvsGUE pic.twitter.com/6FXSzythQP

Entwistle was acquired in a package deal from Arizona on July 12, 2018. Through these playoffs, Entwistle has five goals and seven assists for a total of 12 points in 11 games. He has back to back multi-point games.

Boqvist, taken eighth overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, sees his postseason run come to an end with an impressive team-leading 10 goals and three assists in 11 games for London.

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BLOG: Kane to captain U.S. Men's National Team at Worlds

Patrick Kane is heading to Slovakia to participate in the World Championships May 10-26

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

USA Hockey announced today that Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will serve as the captain for the 2019 U.S. Men's National Team at the upcoming IIHF Men's World Championship.

USA Hockey will announce the rest of its preliminary roster for the event later this week.

"It's great to have Patrick back and captaining our team again in the world championship," Jeff Blashill, head coach of the 2019 U.S. Men's National Team, said in a release. "He's one of the most dynamic players in the game today and passionate about helping bring a gold medal home to our country."

Kane has donned the red, white and blue and represented Team USA on multiple occasions, including serving as captain of the bronze-medal winning 2018 team at Worlds. He also won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics.

This tournament will take place May 10-26 in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.

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BLOG: Hughes and Kakko top final draft rankings

Take a look at NHL Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2019 NHL Draft

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

Center Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-18 Team and right winger Kaapo Kakko of Finland's TPS are still the top-ranked North American and European skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2019 NHL Draft. Take a look at the final rankings below:

North American Skaters | North American Goalies | International Skaters | International Goalies

North American skaters Bowen Byram, Kirby Dach, Alex Turcotte and Dylan Cozens round out the top five in that group, while Vasily Podkolzin, Victor Soderstrom, Ville Heinola and Philip Broberg follow Kakko among international prospects.

The Blackhawks currently hold the third overall selection in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft after winning it in the NHL Draft Lottery last week.

The 2019 NHL Draft will take place June 21-22 in Vancouver, B.C. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage leading up to the draft on Blackhawks.com.

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BLOG: Mitchell's season ends in semifinals

The University of Denver lost 4-3 to Massachusetts on Thursday night

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

Blackhawks prospect Ian Mitchell and his University of Denver squad were eliminated from the NCAA Frozen Four in the semifinal by Massachusetts on Thursday night in Buffalo, NY.

Denver outshot UMass 40-28 in the game but freshman d-man Marc Del Gaizo's one-timer in overtime ended Mitchell's tournament run. UMass took the 4-3 victory and will now battle Minnesota Duluth in the national championship game on Saturday.

Mitchell was taken in the second round, 57th overall, of the 2017 NHL Draft by Chicago. The Alberta native has spent the last two seasons in college, racking up awards and honors, such as being named to the NCAA NCHC Second All-Star Team this season.

The offensively inclined defender recorded 27 points (6G, 21A) in 39 games this season for Denver.

Mitchell also wore an "A" for Team Canada at the 2019 World Juniors tournament, scoring a goal and adding two assists in three games.

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BLOG: All content & coverage from the Draft Lottery

Links to video and written coverage from the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery, which awarded Chicago the third pick

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks jumped from 12 to three in the NHL Draft order during Tuesday night's NHL Draft Lottery. Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman was the team's representative in Toronto at the lottery and BHTV caught up with him for instant reaction following the announcement.

Video: Bowman on third overall pick

Blackhawks.com also has more video and written content recapping the night's developments. Check the links below for more.

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BLOG: Blackhawks eyeing elite player at three

Chicago now holds the third selection in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft

by Chris Wescott / Blackhawks.com

There are different tiers of prospects in the opening round of the NHL Draft and this year is no different. That top part of the draft boasts potential game-changing talents. The Blackhawks, who now hold the third-overall selection in June, are going to be searching for that elite-level player when they're on the clock. It's a chance for a home run.

"You're in a different pool of players there, no question," said Blackhawks Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman. "It's a very good first round so we were very optimistic we were going to get a good player even if we were staying at 12. This is just a game-changer because you don't often get a chance to get these players that are the top couple of picks in the draft. That's where the elite players usually come from. Of course, there are some outliers year to year but if you look back at those early picks in the draft you get a chance to get a difference maker and that's what we're expecting here as well. We've got some time to figure out who it's going to be and that's the fun part about it. The next couple of months we're going to watch a lot of hockey and continue to do our work to prepare and we'll be ready when we get to Vancouver."

When it comes down to choosing between the few players that fall in this top tier, Chicago will try and find someone who is the whole package, but on-ice talent is the most important characteristic. If it comes down to a tie on talent, the Blackhawks should be armed with enough knowledge about these prospects to make the best decision possible.

"When you're picking this high you want to really get to know these players," Bowman explained. "Certainly, their on-ice ability is paramount. What can they do? What are their skill sets? What do they bring to the table? And then there's the other stuff that isn't as apparent, as far as getting to know them off the ice… You start to understand what kind of people they are and what their motivations are. That never trumps the guy's talent, but you try to put the full package together. First and foremost, they've got to be able to make a difference on the ice and that's what we're going to focus our attention on. But when you're picking this early in the draft, you've got to do a lot of other work as well because everything matters in trying to determine who is going to make an impact on your team."

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