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Blackhawks Prospect Report: Vlasic, Kaiser among standout defensmen in NCAA

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The Blackhawks depth at defense was on full display across the NCAA the past two weeks.

Photo by Jenna VanSickle

As we do another check-in on Blackhawks prospects around the hockey world, a pair of young Blackhawks defensemen are making strong impressions in the NCAA.

Wyatt Kaiser, a third-round pick in 2020 who’s playing for Minnesota-Duluth, picked up another assist in his last game, bringing his total to 9 points (all assists) in 22 games. Although there is no publicly available time on ice numbers in NCAA hockey, it was mentioned in one of the UMD broadcasts that Kaiser has been logging between 24-28 minutes as the freshman plays in a top-pair role and on both special teams.

Out east, Alex Vlasic has also been logging top-pair minutes for Boston. The 2019 second-round pick has been on a scoring spree lately with three goals in his last four games, despite his MO as a stay-at-home defensemen. The 6-foot-6 sophomore now has seven points (3G, 4A) in 10 games with Boston University.

BU head coach Albie O’Connell had this to say about Vlasic after the win against the University of Vermont on Feb. 12:

“He’s really made a big step. I’m happy for him because he wants it. He works hard, he was a beast tonight, and he was like a man amongst boys out there.”

Elsewhere in the hockey world:

Chad Krys, D (AHL)

In his second professional season, Krys has been anchoring the top pair in Rockford with veteran Cody Franson. The defensemen scored his second point of the season with an assist on the game-tying goal in Thursday’s game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Krys had 8 points (2G, 6A) last season in the AHL.

Wyatt Kalynuk, D (AHL)

Although not with Rockford currently, Kalynuk did play two games with the IceHogs before being promoted back to the NHL taxi squad. Kalynuk had a goal and an assist in his first professional game. IceHogs coach Derek King had nothing but praise for the defensemen:

“He was excellent. Looking at him playing this game you wouldn’t think [it] was his first time playing at this level. He stood out for me.”

With the Blackhawks defensive group pretty crowded, it’s uncertain when Kalynuk might make his NHL debut or if he’ll return to Rockford.

Alec Regula, D (AHL)

Regula scored his first goal of the season against the Griffins Thursday. The 6-4 defensemen is settling in nicely playing top-four minutes and on the first unit of the power play with the IceHogs.

The latter is interesting to note because Regula broke out offensively last season in the OHL after being moved to the bumper-role on the London Knights power play.

Michael Krutil | Isaak Philips | Cole Moberg, D (AHL)

Michael Krutil (fourth round, 2020) signed a contract with the IceHogs, the team announced Wednesday. The 18-year old is the youngest player with the Hogs, and he has zero points in four games.

Still on profession-tryout contracts with the IceHogs, Phillips (fifth round, 2020) and Moberg (seventh round, 2019) each have one point in three games.

Andrei Altybarmakyan | Evan Barratt | MacKenzie Entwistle | Brad Morrison | Michal Teplý | Chad Yetman, F (AHL)

2017 third-round picks Altybarmakyan and Barratt are off to slow starts in their first professional season with only one point each in five games with the IceHogs. The two have been primarily playing in the bottom-six with minimal time spent on special teams.

After spending most of his time on the Blackhawks taxi squad, Entwistle — acquired from the Coyotes in the Marian Hossa trade — was reassigned to Rockford and was immediately placed in the top-line center role on Thursday. He didn’t score any points in his return but was objectively one of the best forwards on the ice.

Acquired from LA Kings in the Olli Maatta trade, Morrison currently leads the IceHogs with 3 points (2 G, 1A) but has only been able to rotate into the lineup for two games.

Yetman (sixth round, 2020) has 3 points (1 G, 2A) as well and has played in all five Hogs games, primarily as the top-line center.

Michal Teplý (fourth, 2019) has two shots and no points in one one game.

Stanislav Demin, D (NCAA)

Acquired from the Golden Knights in the Robin Lehner trade, Demin has been under the radar in the deep Blackhawks defense prospect pool, but the defense-first blue-liner has been solid for the University of Denver this season. He plays top-four minutes and on the penalty kill, using his strong skating ability to shut down opponents.

Although it’s unlikely he’ll ever wow with his offense, he does have a respectable six points (3G, 3A) in 17 games for the Pioneers, including two assists in his last four games.

Landon Slaggert, LW (NCAA)

Slaggert (third round, 2020) continues perform well on the top line for Notre Dame. He has four points (4A) in his last five games, including two assists in loss to Wisconsin Friday night. He now has 14 points (5G, 9A) in 19 games for the season.

Josiah Slavin, LW (NCAA)

Slavin (seventh round, 2018) has one assist and nine shots on goal in his last three games playing second-line center with Colorado College. Reminder: Slavin is nominated for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award as NCAA Player of the Year and fans can cast their vote for the nominees here.

Dominic Basse, G (NCAA)

Basse (sixth round, 2019) saved 42 of 43 shots against Minnesota-Duluth Thursday. He now a .902 save percentage and 2.99 goals-against average in 15 games as a freshman.

Artur Kayumov, LW (KHL)

Kayumov (second-round, 2016) has one goal in his last three games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. He now has 29 points (12G, 17A) in 51 games.

Lukas Reichel, W/C (DEL)

Reichel (first-round, 2020) continues to be hot for Eisbaren Berlin, extending his point streak to five games with a goal and assist in the win against Kölner Haie Friday. He has seven points (3G, 4A) during the streak and 14 points (6G, 8A) in 16 games for the season. Reichel has been primarily playing top-line center and the bumper-role on the power play.