Welcome to the February 2020 edition of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) prospects report, where we take a look at players in the Blackhawks system and track their progress throughout the 2019-20 junior hockey season.
Alec Regula (RH-D)
Team: London Knights (OHL)
Stats: 51 GP, 25 G, 28 A, 156 SOG
The London Knights defenseman is riding a six-game point streak, with seven goals and five assists in that span.
That outburst included a hat trick in a recent loss to the Guelph Storm, a game I was able to attend. What stood out to me was Regula’s versatility, specifically being deployed in the bumper position on the power play.
A 2018 third-round pick, Regula is a player who’ll need to spend some time in the AHL to grow his game, and he certainly has the potential to be a NHL regular level down the road.
What they’re saying about Regula:
Jake Jeffrey of Global News wrote about Regula being used as a forward on the power play.
Despite being a defenceman, Regula was slotted into a position up front, often referred to as a “bumper.” This spot is typically reserved for a skilled forward with a quick shot and solid control with the puck.
“Not many people put a defenceman in the slot area, but we already had Adam Boqvist and Evan Bouchard on the flanks, and we needed a guy to be that bumper guy in the middle and Regula was the only right-hand shot we had, so we went with it and he’s done well so far with it,” (Knights head coach Dale) Hunter said.
“You gotta be moving around all the time in that bumper spot, and I think I’ve kind of gotten into a grove there.”
Hunter agrees, saying it helps having Regula in the middle of the ice. While he’s shown he can put the puck in the net, his 10 power-play assists suggest he’s more than capable setting up his linemates as well.
“He can hold on to it in the middle of ice and make the right place in traffic when it seems like guys are all around you, and he makes the right play, which is extremely hard to do,” said Hunter.
Regula is up to 14 goals and 11 assists on the power play this season.
Alexis Gravel (G)
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Stats: 36 GP, 11-23-0, .895 SV%
It’s been a tough season all around in Halifax, and a loss Wednesday kept the Mooseheads from gaining any ground in the QMJHL playoff race. Heading into the weekend, they’re five points out.
Gravel made 37 saves and allowed two goals Wednesday. His save percentage has been sitting at .901 in 2020, down from the .923 mark he reached in December but up over his season average as a whole.
Gravel remains unsigned by the Blackhawks, and there’s a chance they could drop the rights to the 2018 sixth-round pick this summer.
That would not be a shock based on this season’s performance.
What they’re saying about Gravel:
Alexis Gravel, a goaltender in his fourth season for the Mooseheads, turns to yoga to help prevent injury. The 19-year-old has been practicing yoga with Jolene d’Entremont since he began, which he said has been crucial to his success on the ice.
Because of the additional flexibility he requires as a goalie, Gravel sees d’Entremont one-on-one a couple of times a month on top of team sessions. He said yoga is crucial to keeping his hip flexors in good condition.
“I think people should start to realize that yoga is actually good for you and it’s good for your mental health as well,” said Gravel.
“When I go there I don’t think about my problems or anything, I just focus on doing the right movements and getting a good stretch.”
Gravel, who was selected 162nd by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 NHL draft, said some of his friends thought it was a bit weird when he started doing yoga in his mid-teens. He said their reaction came from hockey and yoga being seen as total opposites, but he believes there is room for both.
“I don’t think it makes me less tough,” said Gravel. “It just means I take care of my body, which makes me smarter than people who don’t do it.”
(Source: Alix Burch, The Signal)
Michal Teply (LW)
Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Stats: 48 GP, 26 G, 30 A, 193 SOG
As the season begins to wind down, Teply finds himself in a dead heat with Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings for WHL’s rookie points race. Both players have 56 points, and Teply has reached that mark in 48 games while Guenther has skated in 53.
Teply is also tied for the rookie goals lead with Logan Stankoven of the Vancouver Giants.
For his efforts, Teply was named the WHL’s rookie of the month for January, and Rookie of the Year honors at season’s end are also a possibility.
What they’re saying about Teply:
Teply, the WHL’s most productive rookie so far this season, is a rangy, shot-generating winger with underrated playmaking skill, which he showed off at the world juniors.
At 6-foot-3, I would like to see him use his size more than he does but Teply does a great job making plays from the outside, both off the cycle and the rush. He’s also dangerous between the dots when he goes there, so there’s room for him to use his hard release even more effectively than he already does.
He has been asked to play trigger man a bit more in the WHL but I’m high on his ability to deceive defenders with a delay and a zipped pass through traffic. If he can get stronger, play with a little more intention with and without the puck and improve his speed by a step, he’ll be a good middle-six winger.
Patience will be key though because there’s a bust element to his occasional failure to play as fast as he needs to.
(Source: Scott Wheeler, The Athletic)
Cole Moberg (RH-D)
Team: Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Stats: 53 GP, 12 G, 22 A, 154 SOG
Moberg has exploded offensively as of late, recording four goals and an assist in his past two games. He’s now one goal shy of his junior career high, recorded last season in 61 games.
He’s proving himself to be a reliable two-way defenseman, albeit more known for his play in his own end.
Expectations are never all that high for seventh-round picks, but Moberg could surprise some people down the road.
Having said that, he’s likely to toil in the minors for a few years.
What they’re saying about Moberg:
#WHL KEL/PG: @PGCougars Cole Moberg hammers home another pair of goals, doing it in consecutive games. Becomes first Cougars rearguard with 10+ power play goals in a year since Marc McNulty in 2013-14. First defenceman with consecutive 2-goal games since Dennis Cholowski.— Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) February 27, 2020