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Blackhawks CHL, USHL prospect update for 1/16: First post-World Juniors report

The Seattle Thunderbirds will be a team to watch for Blackhawks fans.

Seattle Thunderbirds v Winnipeg Ice Photo by Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images

Checking in on the Chicago Blackhawks prospects skating in the USHL and CHL.

WHL

Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds

Stats: 34 points (4 G, 30 A), 71 SOG in 26 games

Korchinski’s time with Team Canada at the World Juniors may have underwhelmed a bit, but the 2022 first-round pick went right back to his scoring ways once he returned to Seattle. In five games since coming back to the Thunderbirds, he has a goal and five assists.

Here’s the goal:

Nolan Allan, Seattle Thunderbirds

Stats: 15 points (6 G, 9 A), 48 SOG in 28 games

Allan has also skated in all five games with Seattle since his month-long hiatus for the World Juniors, but has only one goal in that five-game span which is more indicative of Allan’s less offensively-geared game as compared to Korchinski.

The goal he scored was a nifty one, though:

Allan — as well as Korchinski — figures to see plenty of top-four minutes as the rest of the season progresses, with Seattle now riding a three-game winning streak that has it atop the Western Conference with a 30-7-1-1 record, good for 62 points.

Colton Dach, Seattle Thunderbirds

Stats: 17 points (9 G, 8 A), 58 SOG in 14 games played

Dach was traded to Seattle just over one week ago but still hasn’t played with his new team due to the injury sustained at the World Juniors. But the good news for Dach is that the injury wasn’t serious enough to require surgery as reported by Ben Pope of the Sun-Times in the tweet below:

Still no word on when Dach will return to the lineup, though.

OHL

Ethan del Mastro, Sarnia Sting

Stats: 17 points (3 G, 19 A), 32 SOG in 25 games played

After skating top-pairing minutes for Canada at the World Juniors, del Mastro was traded from the Missisauga Steelheads to the Sarnia Sting, with del Mastro’s new team apparently loading up for a strong regular-season finish and potential postseason run.

In three games with the Sting since that trade, del Mastro has one goal:

Judging from the lineups announced before Sunday’s game, del Mastro went straight to Sarnia’s No. 1 D pairing:

Gavin Hayes, Flint Firebirds

Stats: 40 points (23 G, 17 A), 131 SOG in 39 games played

The offensive numbers continue piling up for Hayes. He’s tied for the team lead in goals (23), second in points (40) and his 131 shots on goal are the most by any Firebird.

Hayes is lagging mildly behind a point-per-game pace since the calendar turned to 2023, with five points (3 G, 2 A) in the last six games, but scroll back near the end of 2022 and there’s a four-point game (3 G, 1 A) in there on Dec. 28. He’s been skating in Flint’s top six every time we’ve checked this season and the most recent lineups posted by the Firebirds offered no change to that trend:

Paul Ludwinski, Kingston Frontenacs

Stats: 26 points (7 G, 19 A), 60 SOG in 34 games played

Ludwinski has continued with solid, steady production while continuing to center the top line for Kingston:

In six games this year, Ludwinski has one goal and three assists, including this primary assist from Saturday night:

The other major development related to Ludwinski is that he was named Kingston’s captain for the rest of the season, adding to a long list of Blackhawks prospects in leadership positions for their teams:

QMJHL

Samuel Savoie, Gatineau Olympiques

Stats: 39 points (18 G, 21 A), 84 SOG in 35 games played

Savoie started 2023 with a three-point game (1 G, 2 A) against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Jan. 4, kicking off the new year the same way he ended the old one. Savoie has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in six games this month and continues to be one of the more pleasant surprises in the Blackhawks system with how his season is unfolding.

Here’s a long look at an impressive shift from Savoie on Thursday that ended with a goal:

As recently as Saturday, Savoie was still skating on the top line for Gatineau:

USHL

Nils Juntorp, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Stats: 14 points (9 G, 5 A), 55 SOG in 27 games played

Juntorp missed two weeks in late December for reasons unknown. He’s played in the last four games for Dubuque and the most recent lineups have Juntrop skating at left wing on the top line:

Juntorp is in the midst of a scoring drought that dates back to December, though: he’s without a point in his last eight games.

Sam Rinzel, Waterloo Black Hawks

Stats: 17 points (3 G, 14 A), 73 SOG in 27 games played

The Blackhawks’ first-round pick in 2022 has been on the scoresheet a lot since returning to Waterloo from helping Team USA win gold at the World Junior A Challenge. Rinzel has two goals and four assists in the last seven games, including this neat goal from Saturday night against the Des Moines Buccaneers: