Welcome to the final 2019-20 edition of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) prospects report after the junior hockey season was shortened due to COVID-19. Ian tracked the progress of four CHL players in the Blackhawks system throughout the season and all of the monthly reports, as well as other prospect news, can be found here.
Alec Regula (D)
Team: London Knights (OHL)
Stats: 56 GP, 27 G (15 PP), 33 A (11 PP), 171 SOG
#Blackhawks defenseman prospect Alec Regula had a power-play goal and an assist for the London Knights. He has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in nine of his past 10 games and 59 points (27 goals, 32 assists) in 55 #OHL games. pic.twitter.com/mP8PQdSUB7— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) March 7, 2020
Regula led all OHL defensemen in goals (27) and power-play goals (15) in 2019-20, and his 60 points ranked sixth among all players at his position. His 27 goals were the most by any Knights defenseman since former NHLer Dennis Wideman scored 27 in 2001-02.
He finished the season with one goal and five assists in four March games to finish the shortened season. This came after being named the OHL’s defenseman of the month for February.
The Blackhawks signed Regula to a three-year entry-level contract in November after acquiring him from the Red Wings in a trade for Brendan Perlini in October.
Regula is expected to play next season in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs. If the AHL decides to resume its 2019-20 season, he could join the team.
Sure, Regula was playing on a loaded Knights club with a plethora of talent up and down the lineup, but it still seems as though GM Stan Bowman got the better of Steve Yzerman in this trade.
What they’re saying in London:
Regula, from the Detroit area, was heading to the (Michigan) Wolverines before opting for the Knights in 2017-18.
“I was pretty set on school,” he said. “A lot of 16-year-olds don’t play in the OHL right away unless they were (committed) to the U.S. development program. But at 17, with the way London’s defence shaped up, it worked out well for me to join (the Knights).”
He finished his third and likely final OHL season with 27 goals and likely has redefined himself as more of a two-way blue-liner than a stay-at-home player.
“I don’t know what to expect in pro,” he said, “but I think (Chicago) will give more free rein to be the player I want to be and I have a better chance now to be an offensive producer at the next level.
“I feel more confident about that.”
Without the playoffs, he called being named Knights co-captain with Liam Foudy the highlight of his season. He enjoyed the responsibility and chance to lead.
“To finish first in the West, I’m proud of how we played,” he said. “We thought we’d get to the finals and that would be a really good series. We felt a little robbed — but so do about a million teams. You can’t take any time for granted. You never know what’s going to happen and you have to appreciate the time you have left.
“I told (the younger players) use the resources you have because London gives you every opportunity.”
Michal Teply (LW)
Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Stats: 53 GP, 29 G (12 PP), 34 A (14 PP), 210 SOG
As mentioned in the tweet above, Teply led all WHL rookies in goals, assists and points, and also recorded almost 30 more shots than any other first year player. All of the above is made even more impressive when you consider he missed a handful of games while representing his native Czech Republic at the World Juniors.
It was quite a North American debut for Teply, who will turn 19 near the end of May.
Unfortunately he’ll miss out on a chance to compete in the WHL playoffs, but there’s enough of a sample size here to say Bowman earned a W on this 4th round pick.
What they’re saying about Teply:
Michal Teplý has been a wonderful addition to the Winnipeg ICE lineup this season. The Chicago Blackhawks fourth-round pick last year has come over to North America and shown a lot of the skill and talent that made some believe that he could challenge for a first-round pick prior to his draft-eligible season. He has a strong frame and plays strong on his edges. His shot is NHL-calibre and takes pride in scoring goals. He has been extremely consistent this season, rarely going more than one game without finding the scoresheet.
The young Czech forward makes his presence known on the power play, where he generates a great deal of his scoring. He is tied with Cole Sillinger of the Medicine Hat Tigers for rookie power play scoring with 25 points but leads all first-year players in power play goals with 11. While a great deal of power play production isn’t a major red flag, it should come with some tempered expectations as his even-strength play isn’t as impactful. Teplý is a decent skater but he will need to get quicker in his first few steps. His length and size help him close the gap in puck races so there won’t be a major improvement needed. Overall, Teplý should be able to provide a solid scoring punch at the next level but needs a year or two of refinement before he challenges for a roster spot in Chicago.
Alexis Gravel (G)
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Stats: 40 GP, 12-26-0, .893 SV%, 1 SO
#TopPlayThursday | Do you prefer (A) Alexis Gravel's glove save? Or (B) Lucas Fitzpatrick's stick save?— QMJHL (@QMJHL) February 20, 2020
Vote by mentioning A or B in the comments below! ️✍️@HFXMooseheads | @DrakkardeBaieCo pic.twitter.com/ld2B0ha7Il
Gravel missed a month earlier in the season due to a gruesome foot injury and never really seemed to find his form.
His numbers fell off wildly from the record of 33-16-0 and the 0.913 save percentage he posted in 2018-19 (not to mention the 5 shutouts), and he went from being a Canadian World Junior candidate to struggling to keep his starter’s gig in Halifax.
Add it all up, and there’s some question as to whether the Blackhawks will sign Gravel to an entry-level contract or allow him to walk and try and get his career on track elsewhere.
It didn’t help that the Mooseheads were pretty bad as a whole, finishing 17th in the 18-team league, and that might be his saving grace as execs realize there’s still some talent to be mined there.
What they’re saying about Gravel:
Halifax Mooseheads goalie Alexis Gravel (Chicago, 2018) with 47 saves on 51 shots for the 7-4 win tonight. Halifax Head Coach J.J. Daigneault: "Gravy had a heck of a night...They were funnelling a lot of pucks on net and Gravel had an exceptional night." https://t.co/iBD3vJgqLZ— Allan Walsh (@walsha) March 11, 2020
Cole Moberg (D)
Team: Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Stats: 58 GP, 13 G (10 PP), 24 A (12 PP), 172 SOG
Moberg’s play this season was a pleasant surprise.
The 2019 seventh-round pick led all Cougars’ defensemen in scoring with 37 points, and his 13 goals matched his career high he set a season ago. He ranked second on the team in assists and was third in goals and was second in power-play goals (10).
Moberg ended the season on a high note, scoring Prince George’s final goal in a 4-3 overtime winner against the Vancouver Giants.
Moberg was named this season’s winner of The Eric Brewer Award, given to the Cougars’ top defenseman.
“Cole is an elite puck mover who possesses a heavy shot. This season he made a commitment to becoming a better defender, which allowed for steady growth in his game to become a true two-way defenseman,” said Cougars’ Associate Coach Jason Smith.
What Moberg is saying about COVID-19:
Personal note: I hope you all have enjoyed these regular prospect updates. It’s been fun following their progress and Blackhawks fans have much to be excited about here, particularity with respect to Teply and Regula.
Stay safe out there, friends.