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.
When the Chicago Blackhawks newly named General Manager, Kyle Davidson, traded fan-favorite Brandon Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning back in March, the general reaction from the Hawks faithful was unfavorable, to say the least. However, Taylor Raddysh — one of the pieces in the return package for Hagel — may have surprised some fans and added a bit of optimism.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are spoiled with riches and any team with that much talent on their depth chart can make even fourth-line players look solid. However, the flip side of that coin is that it cane be hard to get ice time for some of the bottom-six players, particularly in the offensive zone. In 53 games with the Bolts, Raddysh accumulated only 12 points (5 G, 7 A) while playing an average of 11:03 TOI. However, in just 21 games with the Blackhawks, the big forward was able to score almost as many points as he had in Tampa Bay, notching six goals and four assists. His ATOI also soared to 15:34 in Chicago.
In a small sample size, Raddysh showed — what a little more ice time — that he has offensive upside in his game. While he was still given most of his starts in the neutral and defensive zones, he proved to be a useful tool who could help flip the ice and also add some extra firepower on the power play. Raddysh seemed to have particularly good chemistry when playing with Jonathan Toews, with Raddysh’s good vision and accurate shot helping him find the net on the fly and through traffic. With what he showed during his cup of coffee with the Blackhawks last season, along with the state of the team’s current roster, it would make sense to see Raddysh get more playing time among the top nine, and thus more offensive zone starts.
If Raddysh is able to take advantage of an opportunity in an expanded offensive role, he may be able to secure a spot with the team for the foreseeable future. This season will be a proving ground for the 24-year-old forward who’s entering his second season in the NHL. While he is no longer surrounded by the talent he once was in Tampa Bay, he’ll still be around the likes of Toews, as well as Patrick Kane — for now at least — and should be given more minutes during both 5-on-5 play as well as on special teams.
While Raddysh was mostly an unknown commodity before coming to Chicago, he showed that there is a lot to like about him as a player. He may not end up as a 40-goal-scorer or top-line forward, but he’s shown flashes of nice offensive play that the Blackhawks will need in order to keep themselves in games during the great rebuild of 2022-23. He now just has to show that he can play at a high level consistently over the course of a complete 82-game schedule.
Author’s note: Taylor Raddysh 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. In July, Raddysh released a statement on Twitter saying that he was “not in any way involved in the alleged incident,” adding that he cooperated with an initial investigation and said he was prepared to cooperate in future investigations. While this article details Raddysh’s on-ice situation, an ongoing investigation with ties to Raddysh also had to be acknowledged.