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.
If the measuring stick is NHL exposure last season, then the logical conclusion to reach is that the Chicago Blackhawks appear rather intrigued by Alec Regula’s potential. Among the long, long list of defensemen who could be considered Blackhawks prospects, Regula’s 15-game sample from last season was tied with Alex Vlasic for the largest among those potential future blue-liners and his average ice time of 17:53 trailed only that of fellow prospect Jakub Galvas, who had just a six-game sample.
Last April, Chicago had a stretch of nine games in 16 days and Regula played in every single one of them, with his ice time steadily increasing as those days progressed: Regula clocked in at over 20 minutes in three of the final four. He also tallied his first career NHL goal during that stint on a seeing-eye shot from the half boards near the blue line:
Regula returned to Rockford and added one goal during the IceHogs’ five-game playoff series to end his second professional season after injuries — and the pandemic — affected his 2020-21 hockey schedule.
For a quick understanding of what Regula brings to the table, this goal clip should do it:
Alec Regula: a very good hockey player pic.twitter.com/ZBH5NyMKrD— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) May 15, 2022
At 6-4 and 208 pounds, Regula is an imposing figure but moves far better than most would expect. He’s not really known for using that frame to blow up opposing skaters but has been getting better at positioning that large torso to separate himself from the puck and a forechecker. His frame also provides a long reach, which is another handy tool in the defensive zone, but Regula seems to favor his skating above all else, which is understandable. He probably won’t be able to maneuver through NHL-quality defenses as easily as he toasted the Chicago Wolves’ defense in the clip above, but he should be able to skate himself out of trouble when necessary.
Regula is one of the elder defenseman in the Blackhawks’ pipeline and finds himself in a similar situation to that of the aforementioned Galvas. With a slew of blue-line prospects behind Regula, he’ll need to quickly prove himself to the new regime in Chicago to be considered part of the team’s long-term plans. There may not be room for Regula at 1901 W. Madison to start the season because of the plethora of veteran contracts there, but he should be among the first few names considered for call-ups when and if roster spots become available.