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31 in 31

Top prospects for Chicago Blackhawks

Kubalik, Sikura could play, make impact in NHL this season

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Chicago Blackhawks, according to NHL.com.

 

[Blackhawks 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the numbers]

 

1. Dominik Kubalik, F

How acquired: Trade from Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 24

Last season: Ambri-Piotta (SUI): 50 GP, 25-32-57

The Blackhawks are high on the 23-year-old, who had 84 points (35 goals, 49 assists) in 75 games playing in the top league in Switzerland the past two seasons. Kubalik (6-foot-2, 179 pounds) also played well at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 10 games for the Czech Republic.

"Dominik's really been impressive the last couple of years in Europe," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He's built on the previous year to the point where he led the league in scoring in Switzerland and led his team in scoring and was a go-to guy, not only to score goals but make plays. I think for me, it was impressive to see his performance at the World Championship, where he's against other NHL players. He was able to really take that step and show us that he can compete on that stage."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: Chicago Blackhawks 2019-20 season preview

 

2. Adam Boqvist, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 8 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: London (OHL): 54 GP, 20-40-60

Boqvist (5-11, 179), who turns 19 on Aug. 15 and followed a solid regular season in London with 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in 11 games in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, will get a long look in training camp.

"His progression over the past year, I thought, was phenomenal," Blackhawks director of player development Mark Eaton said. "The steps he took with the defensive habits in his game, I've always said it, that he's underrated in that aspect. He's such a smart player that it's not just one side, he's not just smart offensively. He's coachable and able to figure things out defensively as well."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

3. Kirby Dach, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 3 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: Saskatoon (WHL): 62 GP, 25-48-73

In three seasons with Saskatoon, the 18-year-old center has 129 points (38 goals, 91 assists) in 133 games. Dach (6-4, 197), who knows he must fill out his frame and get stronger to play in the NHL, impressed during Blackhawks development camp, although it's likely he plays another season of junior hockey.

"Obviously it's your dream and goal as an athlete to get [to the NHL] as fast as you can," Dach said. "But it's kind of out of my control. I don't really have any push or say when it comes to push or shove. So I've just got to go out there and do the right things."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: Blackhawks draft F Kirby Dach No. 3

 

4. Dylan Sikura, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 178 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Chicago: 33 GP, 0-8-8; Rockford (AHL): 46 GP, 17-18-35

The 24-year-old had some good opportunities last season during an extended look with the Blackhawks but did not score a goal. Whether Sikura (5-11, 166) makes the team out of camp remains to be seen, but he should receive playing time with Chicago at some point this season.

"Sikura didn't have offensive success at the NHL level, but I like the way he played in Chicago," Bowman said. "His game was effective except for production part, and I liked how he scored in Rockford."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

5. Alexander Nylander, F

How acquired: Trade from Buffalo Sabres on July 9

Last season: Buffalo: 12 GP, 2-2-4; Rochester (AHL): 49 GP, 12-19-31

Nylander (6-1, 192), who was acquired in a trade for defenseman Henri Jokiharju, is hoping a fresh start with the Blackhawks gets him a prolonged stay in the NHL. The 21-year-old played 19 games with the Sabres during the past three seasons and had six points (three goals, three assists) after being the No. 8 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. 

"[He has] a lot of offensive ability and upside, he has a great shot, comes obviously from a very good hockey pedigree and it's up to us to try and take the next step as a player and hopefully contribute with us and help us win games," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said.

Projected NHL arrival: This season

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