Second City Hockey Top 25 Under 25 for 2017
No. 25: Forward Artur Kayumov
No. 24: Forward Nathan Noel
No. 23: Forward Anthony Louis
No. 22: Goaltender Wouter Peeters
No. 21: Defenseman Luc Snuggerud
No. 20: Forward Laurent Dauphin
No. 19: Forward Tomas Jurco
No. 18: Forward Tim Soderlund
No. 17: Forward Matheson Iacopelli
No. 16: Defenseman Ian Mitchell
No. 15: Defenseman Ville Pokka
No. 14: Goaltender Anton Forsberg
No. 13: Forward Vinnie Hinostroza
No. 12: Forward Alexandre Fortin
No. 11: Defenseman Chad Krys
No. 10: Forward John Hayden
No. 9: Defenseman Lucas Carlsson
No. 8: Forward Dylan Sikura
No. 7: Defenseman Henri Jokiharju
No. 6: Defenseman Gustav Forsling
No. 5: Defenseman Connor Murphy
No. 4: Forward Ryan Hartman
No. 3: Forward Alex DeBrincat
No. 2: Forward Nick Schmaltz
No. 1: Forward Brandon Saad
The Chicago Blackhawks enter the 2017-18 season with a much different team than the one that ended the playoffs in the spring. This year’s Top 25 Under 25 list here at Second City Hockey will be no different after another year of trades, draft picks, and prospect performances that have changed our outlook.
One thing that seems certain is that the Blackhawks’ pool of young talent looks more intriguing than a year ago. Some key names from the 2016 list, such as Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman, took steps toward becoming key NHL players. Others didn’t, but they’ve been replaced by a crop of prospects that seems to have more skill and more upside.
And then there are the additions from the past year. Artemi Panarin would’ve graduated from this list anyway, but he’s been replaced by familiar face Brandon Saad, who slips in since he doesn’t turn 25 until late October. That trade also brought in goalie Anton Forsberg, who could be the replacement to Corey Crawford in a few years.
Connor Murphy may or may not be able to replace Niklas Hjalmarsson, but he’s still young enough that you can squint and hope for the best.
In the 2017 draft, the Blackhawks used their first-round pick on speedy defenseman Henri Jokiharju, then added Ian Mitchell, Tim Soderlund, and others in later rounds. They also have a couple of fliers they grabbed from other teams in Tomas Jurco and Laurent Dauphin who could still play their way into NHL roles.
All of this is to say that this year’s Top 25 Under 25 felt a lot more interesting to put together than the 2016 list, and that should speak well to what the Hawks have done to keep building toward the future. Surely some of these players won’t pan out, but the Blackhawks have shown they’re committed to going down easily.
We’ll be doing one post per day for each player in the Top 25 Under 25, with the full list being included here. The cutoff date for age is Oct. 1, 2017, so anyone who is 25 or younger on that date is out.