The Blackhawks signed 2018 seven-round pick Josiah Slavin to a two-year entry-level contract on Tuesday after two seasons at Colorado College.
"It's just pure excitement for me," Slavin said shortly after signing. "Moving on with my career and moving on to the next level. There's just nothing but excitement."
Here are three things you should know about the new signing:
Since being taken in the seventh round nearly three summers ago, Slavin has continued to elevate his game year over year. Stepping onto campus in Colorado, he led all freshman in scoring his first year with 13 points (5G, 8A) in 34 games and in his second season, led the team in scoring with 13 points (5G, 8A) in just 22 games.
"I definitely improved in a lot of areas," Slavin said of the last few seasons. "Overall I've just gotten bigger, faster, stronger. I think my offensive game has improved as well… A lot of decision-making on the ice has been a huge part of it. I got to expand my game a little bit playing against older guys (in college) than what I did in juniors."
Now, as he gets set to report to Rockford for the rest of the season, Slavin hopes getting his feet wet at the pro level this year will help him head start ahead of his first contract year in 2021-22.
"My main goal is just to get the most experience as possible," he said, "try to play in the most games that I can and just try to build up my confidence for next year and going into next year."
Josiah is following a nearly identical path as his older brother, Jaccob, a defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jaccob, four and a half years Josiah's elder, was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes while playing with the USHL's Chicago Steel. He spent two years at Colorado College before signing his first pro contract. Jaccob played in 14 AHL games his rookie season and has been an NHL regular ever since, already surpassing the 400-game mark in just his sixth season.
Josiah was drafted in the seventh round by Chicago in 2018 and then spent the last half of his final junior season in 2018-19 with the Steel, appearing in 27 games while scoring 20 points (14G, 6A). He, too, spent two years at Colorado College before signing as a pro, amassing 26 points (10G, 16A) in 56 games with identical 5-8-13 stat lines each season with nearly a third less games the second time around.
"It's awesome that he kind of set the way for me and developed the path through the college hockey route," Josiah said. "I kind of wanted to follow in similar footsteps. It took me an extra year to do it since I aged out of juniors, but we're here now and I couldn't be more excited about it."
The big brother had sound advice for the younger Slavin sibling as he enters the next chapter of his career.
"He just told me to trust in myself as a player," Josiah said. "He thinks I'm ready for the next level and I've got to believe in myself to know that I'm ready for it too. And just to enjoy the moment. You only sign your entry-level contract once."
It's not just Josiah and Jaccob that play hockey in the Slavin household.
Their sister, Jordan, played high-level hockey, patrolling the blue line for four seasons at the University of North Dakota from 2009-2013 with 41 points (12G, 29A) in 113 games. Another younger brother, Jeremiah, looks to follow in his brothers' footsteps. At 16, the defenseman was selected by the Muskegon Lumberjacks during the 2020 USHL Draft and has already committed to play at Colorado College.
"We're each other's biggest supporters and at home it was incredible just being able to compete against each other in everything," Josiah said his siblings. "We turn everything into a competition and it'd be a lot of fun just living at the house with them."