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Blackhawks Bits: Plante hiring, Luypen signing confirmed

Two more people have been added to the Blackhawks organization.

Edmonton Oil Kings at Kelowna Rockets Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

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.

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)

(Laugh track)

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.

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.

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.