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Blackhawks prospect Radovan Bondra returning to juniors next season, per report

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Bondra will be heading back to the WHL’s Prince George Cougars for the 2017-18 season.

Brandon Wheat Kings v Vancouver Giants Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Radovan Bondra will return to juniors for the 2017-18 season after the team passed on offering him an entry-level contract this summer, reports The Athletic’s Scott Powers.

Bondra, 20, played the past two seasons in the WHL after being selected in the fifth round (No. 151 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2015 NHL Draft. He’s a massive power forward who has shown some scoring touch as a prospect.

Last season split between the Vancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars, Bondra recorded 32 goals and 63 points in 62 games. It was a major step up in production from the 30 points in 58 games he recorded during his first WHL season with Vancouver.

But with the Blackhawks already adding forwards Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden, Laurent Dauphin, Nathan Noel, Anthony Louis, David Kampf, Matheson Iacopelli, Graham Knott, and Alexandre Fortin to their possible AHL pool for the year, it’s not surprising that the team decided it could wait to sign Bondra.

Powers says that the Blackhawks still plan to ink Bondra to an ELC next year, and they hold his draft rights until July 2019, so there’s little concern about him getting away for now. He’ll be 21 years old by the end of the upcoming season, so he’s getting a bit old to be in juniors, but hopefully he can have a big season and carry that momentum into his professional career next summer.