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.
After a rough first AHL season in 2020-21 that saw Michal Teply score just five points — all assists — in 18 games, the big, strong forward scored 31 points in 60 games during his first full season in the AHL.
Teply is more known for his passing, as that’s what scouts talked about back when he was drafted: his ability to accurately pass and operate with very little room to maneuver. Teply remains that persistent passer, collecting 18 assists, while also making good use of his frame and accurate shot to notch 13 goals.
For his efforts, Teply secured both playing time with the Chicago Blackhawks’ highest-touted prospect with the IceHogs last season, Lukas Reichel, but also some time on the power play. That resulted in eight points on the man advantage for Teply, including four goals and four assists.
Teply was named the IceHogs’ most improved skater for the 2021-22 season, an award given to Blackhawks’ full-timer MacKenzie Entwistle in 2019-20.
Teply will likely remain high on the IceHogs’ lineup sheet this coming year and, if the Blackhawks run into the injury bug, he could easily make his NHL debut. Teply added an assist in five playoff games as the IceHogs remained a relatively low-producing offense, scoring just seven goals in five playoff games.
Teply is likely closer to making an actual contribution to the Blackhawks’ lineup than most prospects before him, although his ceiling may not be as high as some ahead of him. Teply likely slots in as a third-line power forward who adds scoring depth and helps generate offensive pressure with good forechecking ability.
Teply, in classic power-forward fashion, is also able to drive the high-danger areas and get his stick on the ice for rebounds, critical components of a net-front presence on the power play. He’s earned his power play time and is someone who can do the hard work necessary to make a line successful, able to pass at the right time and get where the puck is.
For just his third season on North American ice — in his debut year, he put up 63 points in 53 games with the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL — Teply continues to come along quite nicely. Sometimes drafting for size in the latter rounds can pay off, but mostly if the player is willing to put in the time and continue to work toward development.
That appears to be the case for Teply, who will hope to give the Blackhawks more depth in the years to come. At just 21, Teply still has a few years to get into that position, and luckily, as a fourth-round pick, the pressure should remain off him as long as he continues to put up better numbers, like he’s done for each of the last three seasons.
#Blackhawks prospect, Michal Teplý (#53 in red) scores his 13th on the year! Mike Hardman (#86) picks up his 13th assist, Wyatt Kalynuk (#48) picks up his 20th assist. #IceHogs #HawksProspects pic.twitter.com/dzqCY5hsLH— Chicago Prospects (@Chi_Prospects) May 1, 2022
Hopefully more consistency — something Teply lacked in the 2020-21 season, playing in three different leagues as well as three different tournaments, but combining for just 37 games — does Teply some good. Another season — hopefully one much closer to the 76 games that comprise most AHL years — with positive results could see Teply on the Blackhawks’ roster next season.
Teply will return to the IceHogs and hopefully continue to develop into a productive producer and offensive generator. Teply could make his NHL debut as soon as this season, depending on injuries, and could play a few games as a depth forward. With another season of building numbers, Teply could be in the running for a roster spot in 2023-24. Just nine forwards, including one Tyler Johnson, are currently signed for that year.