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.
The middle five spots in SCH’s 2020-21 Top 25 rankings were unveiled over the past week, so it’s time again to do a dual reaction with the staff’s thoughts on how those just outside the top 10 shaped up.
Too high: Lucas Carlsson (No. 18 on my list)
Too low: Alec Regula (No. 9 on my list)
This is usually around the time where there starts to be noticeable disagreement on the rankings. I still think Carlsson may turn out to be a solid NHL defenseman but knowing he’s spent two full season in the organization and only appeared in six NHL games for a team that wasn’t exactly thriving defensively suggests he may not be all that much of an upgrade to the D corps that already exists in Chicago. I know that players like Boqvist and Beaudin may get the first look due to their high draft selection, but it seems like a player with a more concrete future at the NHL level would’ve played in more than six games. With Carlsson being 23 years old, the arguments about him developing further become less and less valid.
Regula, on the other hand, seems to be the exact type of defenseman that would thrive in the current NHL. He’s huge (6-foot-4, 208 pounds), he skates well and he has the offensive ability to chip in at that end of the ice. Add in his right-handed shot and Regula may be making noise in Chicago within the next few years if he continues his current trajectory.
Too high: N/A
Too low: Lucas Carlsson (No. 9 on my list)
I totally get why everybody on this part of the list is ranked where they are. Evan Barratt is somebody with a lot of potential but needs to show that in his first professional season. Alec Regula is the same way, and someone who is better defensively than most of the Blackhawks’ blue line prospects. Kayumov should be an impact player whenever he comes over.
But Carlsson feels a little underrated if only because of his limited sample size. It was hard finding players worth Connor Murphy’s time in the 2020-21 regular season (and postseason for that matter). Carlsson was worth pairing with the Blackhawks’ best defenseman in the six games he played. That’s a good mark in my book.