After a strong showing for Blackhawks prospects last week, an unexpected name or two showed up on the score sheet for their respective teams this past week. Many of the expected names in the pipeline also had strong showings for their junior clubs.
Surprise name of the week is Jake Ryczek. The Halifax Mooseheads defenseman registered six points over a three game stretch, after recording only two points in all of the month of November. Notable showings also came from Brandon Hagel, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin.
JAKE RYCZEK – HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS – 2 GOALS, 4 ASSISTS
After the former 7th round pick’s average start for the Mooseheads, he became a stratch during the early games of December for Halifax. Most Blackhawks fans probably do not even know who Ryczek is, but he had the best three game stretch of his season over the weekend.
Ryczek began his strong weekend off against the Saint John Sea Dogs with one goal and one assist in a 10-2 win for Halifax. The next day against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Ryczek registered one goal and two assists in a 6-0 win for the Mooseheads. The three point outing was by far the best game for Ryczek to this point during the campaign. To finish the weekend, Ryczek recorded one assist for his sixth point in a 2-1 win over the Charlottetown Islanders to complete the weekend sweep for the Mooseheads.
— Halifax Mooseheads (@HFXMooseheads) December 7, 2018
Ryczek was an important part of the Mooseheads’ success over the weekend. Three straight wins in three days helped bring Halifax within one point of the Maritimes division lead. If Ryczek continues to play this way, he could propel himself into a contract with the Blackhawks next season and some time down with the Rockford IceHogs. This won’t be an easy task for the 2016 7th round pick, as Rockford has a very crowded blue line. Not to mention the numerous talented defensemen on the way in Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin. Keep an eye on Ryczek to see if he continues his hot streak going into this week’s games.
BRANDON HAGEL – RED DEER REBELS – 3 GOALS, 2 ASSISTS
After an outstanding prior week for Hagel, the young winger registered another five points in only two games over the weekend. In the Rebels’ 4-3 shootout win over the Regina Pats, Hagel scored one goal. The goal opened the games scoring late in the first period.
The next night, Hagel had an outstanding night in the Rebels’ 6-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. He scored two goals and added two assists. The outing was Hagel’s third four-point outing of the season. The newest Blackhawks prospect now has 51 points in 29 games after Saturday’s action.
Hagel is carving himself a nice opportunity in the AHL next season with the Rockford IceHogs. If he can produce at the AHL level, he may get an audition at some point next year with the big club. It remains to be seen how well Hagel adapts to playing against men instead of boys (considering he is an over-ager in the WHL), he provides an exciting possibility for “what could be” in the future with the Blackhawks organization.
NICOLAS BEAUDIN – DRUMMONDVILLE VOLTIGEURS – 2 GOALS, 3 ASSISTS
In the three game stretch during the week, Beaudin continued his offensive dominance by registering two goals and three assists in three games. On December 5th and 7th against the Rimouski Océanic and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, respectively, Beaudin registered an assist in each game of the two game split for Drummondville. Despite the quiet two games, he stepped it up against Shawinigan on Sunday, December 9th.
In the commanding 11-1 win for the Voltigeurs, Beaudin scored two goals while also adding an assist. The young defenseman started the Voltigeurs’ scoring against the Shawinigan Cataractes. After being down 1-0 going into the second period, Beaudin scored to begin the second period, igniting a streak of eleven unanswered goals for the Voltigeurs to capture the victory.
Beaudin is continuing to prove he is an excellent talent on the blue line. He has no fear shooting the puck, as he registered seven shots on goal against Shawinigan. The 2018 first round pick is showing flashes of greatness, giving Blackhawks fans hope that the draft pick that was received for Chicago-native Ryan Hartman was put to good use. Beaudin looks to continue his better than point-per-game pace this week.
ADAM BOQVIST – LONDON KNIGHTS – 2 GOALS, 1 ASSIST
In two games over the past weekend, Boqvist continued his red-hot scoring streak, potting two goals and adding an assist. He has been fantastic in the last few weeks with London.
On Friday, December 7th, Boqvist scored his eight goal of the season in a big 8-1 Knights’ win over the Kingston Frontenacs. The next day, Boqvist would add his ninth goal of the campaign, which was the lone tally for London in a 5-1 loss to the Owen Sound Attack. The loss to the Sound ended a 15-game win streak for the Knights.
Boqvist has been splendid over the last few weeks. Since November 22nd, the Knights defenseman has seven of his nine goals this season. It is safe to say that the young Swede is more comfortable on the North American ice sheet through nearly 25 games. Look for Boqvist to continue to be comfortable and produce at his better than point-per-game clip for the Knights. The Knights currently sit fourth in the CHL power rankings. With notable names Alex Formenton, Evan Bouchard and Boqvist, the Knights will likely make a strong run for the OHL title as well as the Memorial Cup.
- MacKenzie Entwistle – 2 Goals, 1 Assist
- Philipp Kurashev – Québec Remparts – 1 Goal
- Josiah Slavin – Lincoln Stars – 1 Goal
- Alexis Gravel – Halifax Mooseheads – 2 Wins, 61/64 saves
WORLD JUNIORS WATCH:
Be sure to keep an eye on numerous Blackhawks prospects through the holiday season. There is a good chance, once final World Juniors rosters are finalized, that Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin, Mackenize Entwistle, Philipp Kurashev and other Blackhawks college prospects will likely be representing their respective countries. Make sure to tune into The-Rink for the best coverage on both CHL and college representatives at the World Juniors.
Keep up with The-Rink for extensive CHL/USHL coverage of Chicago Blackhawks prospects.