As the 2018-19 NHL season draws nearer, it is always fun to speculate and make predictions for the team’s upcoming season. Here, we will take a closer look at the Blackhawks’ top prospects and I will let you know which prospects I believe are ready to don the legendary Blackhawks’ sweater.
Top 5 Prospects That Are NHL Ready
Victor Ejdsell – C/LW
I believe Victor Ejdsell is one of the most NHL-ready prospects in the Blackhawks’ system right now. Ejdsell plays Center and can also go out wide as a Winger. He is coming off a red-hot AHL Calder Cup playoff run with the Rockford IceHogs. Ejdsell was a big part of the IceHogs’ success, as he tallied 12 points (7G, 5A) in 13 playoff games. Of those 7 goals, 4 of them were game-winning goals. Ejdsell is a big-bodied guy who plays a power forward game but also has some great stick handling, shooting, and passing abilities.
Henri Jokiharju – D
Henri Jokiharju is a 19-year-old Finnish defenseman with a bright future. He is right up there with Victor Ejdsell as far as NHL readiness goes. Jokiharju is a two-way defenseman who has been said to have “no real weakness” on the ice. He is a great skater and possesses great on-ice awareness and vision. This allows him to make passes with pinpoint accuracy. His shot can also sneak up on goalies in a hurry. Jokiharju will definitely help out on the Power Play as well.
Dylan Sikura – W/C
Dylan Sikura is another name to be on the lookout for this upcoming season. Sikura is a playmaker who is not afraid to get to the dirty areas around the net when necessary. He has elite skating, stick handling and puck control to go along with his spot-on passing and shot accuracy. Sikura can also make things happen on the defensive end as well. If you give him any type of space or time, something good is bound to happen. He plays a similar game to Patrick Kane and you can see that here in this video.
Collin Delia – G
Collin Delia came on strong for the Rockford IceHogs at the end of the season. Delia had a respectable regular season in Rockford and finished the year with a 17-7-4 record with 1 shutout, 2.72 GAA, and a .900 save %. He also had a lights-out AHL Calder Cup playoff showing where he amassed a 7-3 record with a 2.34 GAA and a .924 save %. I am a strong supporter and advocate for Collin Delia. Nobody knows what we are going to get out of the 34-year-old Cam Ward this season. In addition, if Corey Crawford is unable to play this season or winds up with another injury, it is just a matter of time before StanBo calls Delia up to the big leagues.
Darren Raddysh – D
The Blackhawks officially signed Darren Raddysh to a 2-year entry level contract on May 21, 2018. He won the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman award in 2017 with Erie Otters. Raddysh is a reliable two-way defenseman who is also a fantastic skater.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) May 2, 2017
Raddysh has nice hands and puckhandling. Raddysh will add some depth to the defensemen position and he can put up some big-time numbers. Here are his impressive career stats.
Darren Raddysh previously played with Alex DeBrincat on the Erie Otters of the OHL, so I am sure there will be plenty of opportunities to rekindle some of their chemistry in the future.
Other top prospects to watch out for: Dominik Kahun, Evan Barratt, Ian Mitchell, Luc Snuggerud, Dennis Gilbert, Lucas Carlsson, Chad Krys, Alexandre Fortin, Matthew Highmore, Roope Laavainen, Fredrik Olofsson, Joni Tuulola