Second City Hockey’s 2022-23 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2022. The rankings are determined by a composite score from all four SCH writers. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.
This will be Boris Katchouk’s only appearance on the T25U25 rankings, as he’ll turn 25 next June and become ineligible for the 2023 version. And there’s not a ton to be gleaned from his 21-game sample with the Chicago Blackhawks at the end of last season.
Katchouk is a former second-round pick (44th overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning who spent three full seasons in the AHL, ending the abbreviated 2021 season with a point-per-game pace of 34 points in 29 games. While his production numbers weren’t stellar with Tampa Bay — just 6 points in 38 games — his possession numbers were rather impressive. Of course, the Lightning have consistently been one of the better possession teams in the league, so good numbers from its players — even a fourth-liner like Katchouk — shouldn’t come as a surprise. Those numbers tanked in Chicago, although some of that can be attributed to usage: the 5.06 offensive zone start percentage in the sidebar is not a typo.
Here’s Katchouk’s lone goal with the Blackhawks, which did show Katchouk’s ability to read a play and find open ice for a one-timer that ended up in the back of the net:
Katchouk displayed decent skating ability for a larger player and a willingness to throw his body around on the forecheck but, in such a small sample, it’s hard to draw too many significant conclusions about what he is now and what he could be in the future.
As has been the case for several seasons now, the Blackhawks have a plethora of players who fit the fourth-line mold and Katchouk is among them. The challenge for Katchouk will be to establish himself among that population at next month’s training camps in hopes of making a quick move into the good graces of new coach Luke Richardson. Katchouk seems like he’ll be at the NHL level for the 2022-23 season, it’s just a matter of how much ice time he earns — or, potentially, how many times he’s a healthy scratch.
All advanced statistics from Natural Stat Trick
Author’s note: Boris Katchouk was one of the players on the World Junior team that is part of an ongoing investigation (content warning for that link) into how Hockey Canada handled sexual assault allegations from 2018. Katchouk’s agent, Mike Liut, said that Katchouk “cooperated fully” with the investigation. While this article will detail Katchouk’s on-ice situation, an ongoing investigation with ties to Katchouk also had to be acknowledged.