2019 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Chad Krys at No. 21

The young defenseman looks to establish himself in his first full professional season.

Second City Hockey’s 2019-20 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2019. The rankings are determined by a composite score from six SCH writers and more than 70 readers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. The six SCH writers will make their ballots public after the series is completed.

Chad Krys finished his NCAA career strong with nine of his 20 points on the season in his final six games with Boston University as an assistant captain. That led him to be part of the mass exodus from BU after the Terriers failed to make the NCAA tournament in their first season under Albie O’Connell. Krys signed an entry-level contract and was assigned to the AHL, where he tallied four assists in nine games — the minimum amount before burning the first year of his deal.

Krys’ brisk footwork and contagious attitude made an immediate impact for Rockford, who were struggling to maintain tempo during transition plays. With his speed, Krys excels at causing turnovers by quickly closing in on opponents and taking away their space, which often leads to an errant pass or mistake. When he gets the puck on his stick he can create offense in transition a la Nick Leddy, which makes him an intriguing piece amongst the other defensive prospects in the organization.

Speaking of offense, Krys has continued to show improvement in creating breakout rushes and shooting from the blue line. His quickness in transition created one of the best highlights for the IceHogs late last season:

Krys seemed to be one of the more respected leaders and vocal players on the ice during the team’s prospect camp scrimmage. He and Rockford head coach Derek King frequently communicated during the scrimmage, and could be the foundation of a great relationship for the future. His teammates both in Rockford and at camp seemed to respect and admire his charisma and enjoyment of the game, and Blackhawk fans should definitely keep a look out for him in the future.

Here are two clips from prospect camp that show Krys’ play, both offensively in a drill and defensively in the scrimmage:

What’s next?

Krys will return to the IceHogs, where he could be deployed on either side given the team’s heavy lefty contingent: Nicolas Beaudin, Lucas Carlsson, Dennis Gilbert, Joni Tuulola and Krys. The righties include returnees Josh McArdle and Dmitri Osipov and newcomer Jake Ryczek all on AHL contracts and Adam Boqvist, if he doesn’t make the Blackhawks out of training camp.

Krys needs to improve his defensive play at the point of entry (the blue line), where he tends to give up ground when opponents rush the inner third of the offensive zone. He’ll have to be active with his stick and gap to push the play to the boards, or opponents will frequently push the play towards the danger areas in the slot. If he can avoid losing gap position at the blue line by trusting his skating prowess to keep opponents along the boards and continue to show his offensive confidence, look for Krys to rise in the January rankings.

Is Chad Krys ranked too low, just about right or too high?

Just right106