Like most people in and around the Chicago Blackhawks, we’re keeping an eye on what the team’s prospects across the world are up to this hockey season. With no Blackhawks games until Friday, it’s a perfect time for our first round of updates, continuing with the NCAA.
Frank Nazar, Michigan
Nazar is expected to miss significant time following surgery to address a lower-body injury, as first reported by Scott Powers of The Athletic. There is no guarantee that Nazar will play any games in his freshman season, as the report suggests a possible return in February, which is the final month of the regular season. Nazar reportedly arrived at Michigan with the injury after participating in Team USA’s World Junior camp and attending the Blackhawks’ development camp.
Frank Nazar with the shootout goal on the fourth day of Blackhawks development camp pic.twitter.com/245VVuiIqw— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) July 14, 2022
Michigan freshman and Blackhawks first round draft pick Frank Nazar will miss months due to surgery https://t.co/WJfggLucxe— SBN College Hockey (@SBNCollegePuck) October 19, 2022
Ryan Greene, Boston
Stats: 4 points (2 G, 2 A), 2 PIM, 7 SOG, 1 PPG in 3 games played.
The 18-year-old forward arrived on Boston’s campus and immediately started making an impact, scoring twice while adding an assist in the team’s first game against Bentley on Oct. 1 — an 8-2 victory. If Greene keeps scoring at this rate, he could find himself higher in the lineup quickly. Greene has already been rather impressive for a late second-round pick, earning Freshman of the Week honors in early October.
Tonight's No. 1 star - freshman Ryan Greene - pushed the lead to 4-0 with his first two goals as a Terrier!— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) October 2, 2022
Here's the first... pic.twitter.com/oTWgZzgpvq
Aidan Thompson, Denver
The 20-year-old forward has not yet played a single game with the Pioneers. Details are scarce, but whatever is keeping Thompson out could trace back to Team USA’s World Junior camp in late July.
Dominic James, Minnesota-Duluth
Stats: 2 points (1 G, 1 A), 2 PIM, 9 SOG, in 4 games played.
James, a smaller player drafted in the sixth-round by the Blackhawks as an overager, has scored two points this season while in his sophomore year with the Bulldogs. Last season, as a freshman, James scored 18 points in 39 points, including six goals. In his age-18 season, James scored just 34 points in 52 USHL games. James has improved massively, even while playing against similarly-aged and more skilled players in the NCAA. He continues to look like a defensively-talented forward who can put up some points.
Jake Wise, Ohio State
Stats: 4 points (2 G, 2 A), 2 PIM, 19 SOG, 1 PPG in 6 games played.
After finally emerging in a healthy season last year with Ohio State, Wise is back at a similar rate and continues to look like a lock for the Rockford IceHogs’ roster next season after looking in previous years like injuries may limit his potential. Although Wise is one of the Blackhawks’ elder collegiate prospects (at 22), his injuries allowed him another NCAA season and he’s taking advantage of it. Wise put up 28 points in 35 games last season and is on a similar pace this year.
PPG for Jake Wise, assisted by Treloar (his third assist and fourth point of the series) and Halliday (his first collegiate point!). #GoBucks @wisey871 @travistre19 @S_Halliday77 pic.twitter.com/OjXxAThoFQ— Ohio State Men's Hockey (@OhioStateMHKY) October 2, 2022
Landon Slaggert, Notre Dame
Stats: 2 points (0 G, 2 A), 2 PIM, 10 SOG, in 4 games played.
After scoring 26 points (12 G, 14 A) in 40 games last season, Slaggert hasn’t scored yet this season but is still finding ways to contribute for the Fighting Irish. While remaining on the ice more often (plunging from 39 PIM in 40 games last year to 2 in 4 this season) Slaggert is capable of playing in all three zones and was also promoted to a leadership role with Notre Dame this year, sporting an “A” for the first time.
Northern is on the power play but Notre Dame's Solag Bakich gets the steal, takes the short pass from Landon Slaggert, and skated in on goal, deeks, and scores the shorthanded goal. 2-1 Notre Dame led NMU after one period. pic.twitter.com/RHNZAP6XJy— Jack Hall (@JackHall600) October 17, 2022
Ryder Rolston, Notre Dame
Stats: 6 points (3 G, 3 A), 2 PIM, 20 SOG, 1 PPG in 4 games played.
Rolston continues to produce at an elite level in the NCAA, starting the season over a point-per-game pace, which is more rare in the NCAA than in other developmental leagues. Rolston is also shooting plenty and drives the puck well while becoming a dependable scorer for the Irish. Rolston’s been able to score when the Irish need a lead and when they need to get on the board for the first time. Rolston is one of the best offensive producers in the NCAA for the Blackhawks, currently on pace to surpass his sophomore season of 27 points in 38 games.
END 2 | Take a look back at Rolston's goal to get the Irish on the board!— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) October 8, 2022
ND trails Denver, 3-1, after two.
Taige Harding, Providence
Stats: 1 point (1 G, 0 A), 15 PIM, 7 SOG in 3 games played.
Harding scored his first collegiate goal with Providence, firing home his first shot of the season against Clarkson. Harding had one assist in 15 games in his freshman season with the Friars after spending much of the year with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the AJHL. After taking a bit of time to get used to a higher level of play, Harding’s already matched his point production from last season and could improve upon it if the Scot can stay out of the box. In three games, the 6-7 Harding has already racked up 15 penalty minutes.
Connor Kelley, Providence
Stats: 3 points (0 G, 3 A), 2 PIM, 1 SOG in 3 games played.
Kelley and Harding will make it easy on the Blackhawks scouts, with only one location now for the two of them. Kelley transferred from to Providence from Minnesota-Duluth in the offseason and is now teammates with Harding, although Kelley has been tasked with killing off Harding’s multitude of penalty minutes. Kelley had just 11 points in 39 games in his sophomore season with UMD and so far has three assists in three games with the Friars, scoring in his first two games with the team. Kelley didn’t register a shot on goal until Providence’s third game of the season, but as long as Kelley keeps the puck out of his net at the other end, the Blackhawks will probably be fine with it.
This passing sequence— PC Men's Hockey (@FriarsHockey) October 8, 2022
Duran finishes off a great feed from Connor Kelley for his first of the season to make it 3-1. pic.twitter.com/fqLGaM6ncV
Wyatt Kaiser, Minnesota-Duluth
Stats: 1 point (0 G, 1 A), 2 PIM, 5 SOG in 4 games played.
Kaiser remained with the Bulldogs for another season and has lofty expectations entering this season as probably the most talented of the Blackhawks’ defensive prospects in college. So far, Kaiser has produced just one assist in his first four games in a slow start, although he still has a chance to build on his 19-point season from 2021-22. Kaiser continues to play an elevated role with the Bulldogs as one of their most-used defensemen and his skating continues to make him a solid defenseman. Still, the Bulldogs would probably like to see more production out of one of their best players and Kaiser himself would probably like to see his name on the scoresheet more often.
Dominic Basse, St. Cloud State
Stats: .971 save percentage, 1 GA, 35 SA, 2 wins in 2 games played.
Another prospect playing in Minnesota, the 6-6 Basse is off to an excellent start with the Huskies, posting a .971 save percentage and 0.50 goals against average in his first two starts. Basse’s save percentage hasn’t been over. 900 since 2018-19 and the Huskies are 2-0 with Basse in net. He has faced 15 and 20 shots, respectively, in his first two games, with the 20 shots coming from a more competitive Wisconsin team. This is likely the most talented team Basse has played behind in college, so while his save percentage will most likely drop the rest of the season, it wouldn’t be shocking for Basse’s save percentage to remain above .900 this year.
Drew Commesso, Boston
A year after heading to the Olympics as part of Team USA, Drew Commesso is having the opposite season of Basse, with his lowest save percentage since 2018-19. Through two starts, Commesso has a .814 save percentage and the Terriers are 1-1 with him in net. Commesso has a GAA of 5.65, getting pulled after allowing six goals on 19 shots in just 25 minutes of play during a 9-2 loss to Michigan last Friday. Commesso’s save percentage will likely regress in a positive direction over the course of the season, but this is not the start you want out of a goaltender who could be the future of the Hawks.