We’re now waist-deep into the offseason hockey doldrums but a few more Chicago Blackhawks developments have occurred this week.
First, the Blackhawks confirmed a report that surfaced late last week: former NHLer Derek Plante has been added to Luke Richardson’s coaching staff.
Welcome to the team Coach! pic.twitter.com/rp3WIi7Xyf— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) August 1, 2022
The 51-year-old Plante comes to the Blackhawks from the University of Minnesota-Duluth — Plante’s alma mater — where he was an associate coach. Plante had also served as a Blackhawks developmental coach from 2015 until 2020. A veteran of 450 games in his eight NHL seasons, Plante played 17 games in Chicago during the 1999-2000 season.
(Insert joke here about the Blackhawks now bringing back former players as coaches)
On Monday, multiple media reports suggested that the Blackhawks were about to add another draft pick to the organization and those reports were proven true on Tuesday when Chicago announced that it had signed Jalen Luypen to an entry-level contract.
Everyone say hello to Jalen pic.twitter.com/LtFExThTBE— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) August 2, 2022
Luypen, who turned 20 in June, was a seventh-round pick (216th overall) of the Blackhawks in the 2021 NHL Draft. But he soared up the organizational depth chart by lighting up the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 66 regular-season games, Luypen scored 29 goals with 35 assists while adding four goals and five assists during 19 playoff games.
Blackhawks have signed F Jalen Luypen, their 2021 7th-round pick, to a 3-year ELC.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) August 2, 2022
Davidson: “Jalen’s overall game has made big strides… His strong work ethic is what we’re looking for in our prospects and that attitude is what will make a huge difference in the future.”
As Scott Powers of The Athletic mentioned on Twitter, Luypen is expected to play in the AHL for the Rockford IceHogs next season. It’ll be a significant upgrade in opponent quality for Luypen, who’s been on a sharp upward trajectory since being drafted last summer.
Wouldn’t hurt the Blackhawks’ rebuild if they found a diamond or two in the rough that is the later rounds of the NHL Draft. We’ll see if Luypen can be one of those hidden gems.