Leading up to the Blackhawks’ 2018 development camp, The Rink will profile the Hawks’ top 10 unsigned prospects.
Next on the list at 5th is defenseman Chad Krys of Boston University.
2017–18 Team: Boston University (NCAA)
Date of Birth: April 10, 1998
Place of Birth: Ridgefield, CT
Weight: 185 lbs
Acquired: 2016 NHL Entry Draft, 2nd round, 45th overall
Chad Krys is among the most skilled defensemen in the Blackhawks’ system. He is a high-end skater and puck-mover who excels in the offensive end. Krys has had his fair share of ups and downs during his career, but has been making strides in his development while at Boston University.
As a sophomore in 2017–18, Krys played on BU’s top pairing. He was relied on in many roles, including time on the penalty kill and a go-to power play quarterback on a loaded Terrier squad. Given his high-end offensive ability, Krys thrived with an expanded role, registering seven goals and 20 assists in 36 games last season after posting just five goals and six assists in 39 games as a freshman.
Skating is an obvious strength for Krys. He enjoys jumping into the rush and does not mind carrying the puck himself. His speed and agility allow him to be a threat in transition. Krys is seemingly always moving his feet, making him an even larger threat in the offensive zone, as he can jump into open spaces on the ice to become an option for his teammates.
While not overly powerful, Krys’s shot is pretty effective because of his accuracy. He is very good at getting pucks through traffic and on net, often generating rebound opportunities for his teammates. Krys generally relies on his wrist shot the most since he can get it off much quicker than his other shots.
Krys also possesses excellent vision and good passing ability. These traits make him an outstanding power play quarterback, as he can read the defense and break it down with smart passes. Krys is generally a pass-first type of player in the offensive zone.
Leadership is another strength for Krys, as he has served as a team captain at various levels, including being named as one of BU’s alternate captains for the upcoming 2018–19 season.
Krys’s defensive game is a work in progress. He needs to become more reliable in his own end to take the next step in his development. Krys can sometimes look lost in his own end, which can lead to defensive breakdowns.
Another thing Krys needs to do to continue his development is add muscle. While he is not necessarily tiny, he could benefit from bulking up more to withstand NHL contact. Added strength would also help him be more effective defensively, especially in terms of clearing the front of the net.
Implications for the Blackhawks
With the Hawks loading up on right-handed defensemen the last couple of years in the draft, Krys may be able to balance things out on the left side. Krys plays the type of game the Blackhawks are seeming to want in their defensive prospects: skilled, offensively minded and puck-moving. Krys has his flaws, but he looks to be a prospect capable of being a part of the team in the future. He would likely fit in on the second or third pairing down the road, as he will likely have at least 2018 draftee Nicolas Beaudin ahead of him on the depth chart in the future.
Krys will be returning to Boston University in the fall for his junior season. If the Blackhawks deem he is ready to make the transition to pro hockey after that, he may be signed at the conclusion of his college season or next summer. Or, he and the Hawks may opt to have him spend all four years in college first prior to signing his entry level contract. Either way, Krys will likely need some time in Rockford as well to get used to being a pro defenseman. Do not expect Krys to wear a Blackhawks sweater until at least 2021–22.
If Krys is able to round out his game and be a consistently reliable defender, he has the upside to be a second-pairing defenseman in the NHL, likely also serving as a regular on the power play.
What others are saying
“He’s always been a really good, gifted player and had the puck an awful lot. But most kids as they climb the hockey ladder, they haven’t had to defend a lot because they’ve had the puck a lot. At the higher level you have to play both ends of the rink. He had better defense, particularly off the rush and he did a better job down low defending. He also did a better job getting involved offensively.”
— David Quinn/Boston University Head Coach
“Krys might be the most intriguing prospect in the organization right now. He’s not at the same level as Henri Jokiharju or Ian Mitchell on the ladder, but his raw skills remain so impressive that he’s putting up good numbers at BU and could blossom at any time. Nobody is more high-upside, high-risk in the farm system. The reasons to love Krys are obvious: He can skate and play with the puck as well as any college defenseman. But the problems have been similarly present for the past few years, including a lack of awareness away from the puck and question marks about his ability to defend in his own zone.”
— Satchel Price/Chicago Sun Times