In a surprise to absolutely no one, Alex DeBrincat was the No. 1 player on our annual ranking of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Top 25 Under 25 players, as revealed earlier on Friday.
But ranking players 1-25 can be an incredibly difficult task when the players are merely prospects. How should players like Landon Slaggert and Evan Barratt be handled, who are both yet to reach the NHL but have roughly similar skill sets? How much credit should a player receive for making it to the NHL — even if their production is minimal — when so many players ranked lower on the organizational depth chart will never advance that far?
Because of all those complications — and our fondness for alliteration — we’ve decided to present another way to interpret how the players in the Blackhawks organization rank, utilizing a prospect pyramid.
To make for a better comparison between prospects, we omitted any players who’ve played in 100 NHL games because they’re more known commodities than most prospects. That took care of Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Adam Gaudette. The remaining 22 players from our T25U25 list are detailed below. Any prospects who aren’t on this list are probably scattered among the tiers at or below the bottom of this pyramid.
It also must be stressed that these rankings are not static: players in the lower tiers could move up with impressive ‘21-22 seasons while those in high tiers could be knocked down a tier or two with subpar performances — this is especially true for some of the older players who are running out of time to reach their ceilings, such as Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin.
With the preamble out of the way, let’s get to the tiers:
Tier 1 — Potential franchise player
- F Kirby Dach
Tier 2 — Potential top-six forward, top-pairing defenseman, No. 1 goalie
- F Phillip Kurashev, F Lukas Reichel
Tier 3 — Potential middle-six forward, middle-pairing defenseman, fringe starting/backup goalie with higher ceilings
- D Nicolas Beaudin, G Drew Commesso, D Wyatt Kalynuk, D Ian Mitchell, G Arvid Soderblom, D Alex Vlasic
Tier 4 — Potential middle-six forward, middle-pairing defenseman, fringe starting/backup goalie with lower ceilings
- D Nolan Allan, F Henrik Borgstrom, F Brandon Hagel, D Wyatt Kaiser, F Artur Kayumov, F Alex Nylander, D Alec Regula
Tier 5 — Potential bottom-six forward, bottom-pairing defenseman
- F Evan Barratt, F MacKenzie Entwistle, D Isaak Phillips, F Landon Slaggert, D Riley Stillman
Tier 6 — Fringe AHL/NHL player
- F Mike Hardman
And here’s a visual representation of the Blackhawks Prospect Pyramid: