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2019 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Philipp Kurashev at No. 7

The crafty playmaker will transition to the AHL next season.

Philipp Kurashev looks on during the Rockford IceHogs’ game against the Milwaukee Admirals on April 14, 2019, at BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.
Todd Reicher/Rockford IceHogs

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.

Philipp Kurashev left the World Junior Championship tournament with a glass half full mentality. The Swiss center was happy with his personal performance as he led the tournament in goals with six, but was disappointed the team fell in the bronze-medal game.

Kurashev returned to the QMJHL and tallied 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games in the second half to help push Quebec into the playoffs. He was also on the ice for 49 goals for and 35 against in 5-on-5 play.

Before World Juniors: 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 33 games

After World Juniors: 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games

With only two regular-season games left and the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference in the QMJHL playoffs already locked up, Kurashev signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks. The signing pointed to Chicago expecting Quebec wouldn’t make it past top-seeded Halifax with Alexis Gravel and Jake Ryczek, so the Blackhawks could send Kurashev to the AHL for a few games.

And that’s exactly what happened. Kurashev and the Remparts jumped out to a 2-0 series lead against Halifax, but the Mooseheads tied the series. Kurashev tallied all five of his playoff points in the first four games then was kept off the scoresheet in the final three as the Remparts fell in seven games to the eventual Eastern Conference champions.

Kurashev signed an amateur tryout with the Rockford IceHogs, who were three points back of Manitoba for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division at the time. He wasn’t able to find the scoresheet in three AHL games and the IceHogs missed the postseason by seven points. He played his first AHL two games with new skates and gear since there was a hold-up in customs, and Rockford head coach Derek King said he “protected him a little bit” during his three-game stint because of it. From there, Kurashev joined Switzerland’s men’s national team for the World Championship to close out his season.

Kurashev is a playmaker with a quick first step and great instincts that allow him to create separation from defenders. With his speed he’s able to enter the offensive zone cleanly and create chances from the perimeter. He’ll need some time in the AHL to play against bigger and stronger players, and adapt to the pro game.

Dave MacPherson/

Here are some highlights of Kurashev (54) from the development camp scrimmage, where he was one of the standout forwards:

What’s next?

The Blackhawks don’t plan to rush Kurashev’s development. He’ll play in the AHL next season, and it’s unlikely he’ll receive a call up unless it’s a courtesy one for his efforts like Dennis Gilbert had last season. Kurashev is a quiet and soft-spoken player, who will benefit from a vocal veteran like Kris Versteeg to help him become more comfortable with his surroundings and life as a pro. Kurashev’s contract begins this fall.


Is Philipp Kurashev ranked too low, just right or too high?

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  • 9%
    (32 votes)
  • 62%
    Just right
    (214 votes)
  • 28%
    (96 votes)
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