Second City Hockey’s 2020-21 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2020. The rankings are determined by a composite score from three SCH writers and community member, L_B_R. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.
While most of the attention surrounding Blackhawks defense prospects who were products of the London Knights focused on 2018 first-round pick Adam Boqvist, another Chicago blue-liner is hoping to blaze a similar path to the NHL in the next few years: Alec Regula.
Acquired in a trade with the Red Wings for Brendan Perlini in October 2019, Regula signed a three-year, entry-level contract one month later. Regula, who was a product of the Chicago Steel and a third-round draft pick (67th overall) by Detroit in 2018, spent the rest of the ‘19-20 lighting up the OHL.
Regula played a starring offensive role for the London Knights, who were going to be the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference before the postseason was canceled by the pandemic. He led all OHL defensemen in goals (27) and power play goals (15) while scoring 60 points in 56 games — good for sixth in the league.
Boqvist was a teammate of Regula’s in London during the ‘18-19 season and had nothing but rave reviews of Regula, which he shared with Second City Hockey soon after Regula was acquired:
“I think he actually has pretty good hands for a big d-man. He has a good hockey IQ as well and he’s a great teammate. I saw he started the season pretty good with a lot of points. He’s a pretty much all-around d-man, but a little bit more stay-at-home. He can score and be on the power play as well, so I think he’ll be good with the Blackhawks.”
It’s not just in Chicago where Regula has raised eyebrows, either. Corey Pronman of The Athletic had Regula ranked No. 7 on his list of 22-and-under players in the organization, which was released soon after the 2020 draft. Four of the players ranked ahead of Regula (Kirby Dach, Alex DeBrincat, Boqvist, Alex Nylander) are already at the NHL level, too, suggesting how he’s climbed on the list of Blackhawks prospects outside of the NHL.
The plethora of blue-liners in the Blackhawks organization at the moment suggests making the NHL during the ‘20-21 season will be a steep hill to climb. He most likely breaks camp with the IceHogs for some time in the AHL. However, injuries and performance issues could lead to call-ups during the season and Regula could be high on that list of players to be promoted to the NHL if he can continue the upward trajectory he’s been on over the last few seasons.