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Blackhawks CHL, USHL prospect update, 12/22: Rinzel leads USA to gold at World Junior A Challenge

Hey, at least someone’s winning!

2022 USA Hockey All-American Game Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

This time around, we’re flipping the order to start with a different Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick.

USHL

Sam Rinzel, Waterloo Black Hawks

Stats: 11 points (1 G, 10 A), 54 SOG in 19 games

While the Blackhawks were busy losing to the New York Rangers on Sunday, at least prospect Sam Rinzel was having a good night. The defenseman had two assists for the US in their win over Canada East to claim the gold medal at the 2022 World Junior A tournament.

Rinzel was picked in the first round of the 2022 draft, and has had a pretty stable season for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL, despite some worries from scouts about his consistency. So far, he has 10 assists and a goal in 19 games.

He was particularly lethal in this tournament, delivering four assists and one goal — which he scored by skating from coast to coast to slot the puck right above the glove of Canada East goalie Ethan Morrow.

Rinzel led all US defensemen in assists, and in points he was second only to Eric Pohlkamp from the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Though he’s young (only 18 years old), Rinzel’s stick-handling abilities, speed, and size indicate that he could become a strong force on the blue line if he’s able to keep up the pace.

Nils Juntorp, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Stats: 14 points (9 G, 5 A), 45 SOG in 22 games

It’s been a quieter stretch for Juntorp of late, with no points in five of his last seven games. He did have a pair of goals against Cedar Rapids on Dec. 9, though:

Despite those scoring slumps, though, Juntorp still appears to be featuring on Dubuque’s top line:

WHL

Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds

Stats: 28 points (3 G, 25 A), 51 SOG in 21 games

Korchinski only played three games in Seattle since the last update before joining Team Canada for the World Juniors, which officially kick off after Christmas.

Based on the lineup below for a pre-tournament game, the LD position will be one for Blackhawks fans to watch intently throughout the tournament:

Nolan Allan, Seattle Thunderbirds

Stats: 14 points (5 G, 9 A), 45 SOG in 23 games

It’s a similar story with Allan as it for Korchinski, who did not have a point in the last three games he played for the Thunderbirds ahead of the World Juniors.

Here’s Allan throwing the body in a pre-tournament game against Switzerland on Monday night:

Colton Dach, Kelowna Rockets

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

Dach picked up two goals in his final game with Kelowna before heading to the World Juniors.

Here’s a goal Dach scored in a pre-tournament game against Slovakia on Wednesday night:

Canada’s World Juniors team is loaded at forward, so it’ll be interesting to see where Dach fits into that lineup.

OHL

Ethan del Mastro, Mississauga Steelheads

Stats: 21 points (2 G, 19 A), 29 SOG in 22 games played

Yet another Blackhawks prospect who’s now playing for Canada in the World Juniors, del Mastro left Mississauga on a positive note with five goals in his last three games, including a trio of assists against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Dec. 7.

Here’s a del Mastro hit:

Gavin Hayes, Flint Firebirds

Stats: 29 points (15 G, 14 A) 95 SOG in 30 games played

Hayes was on fire earlier this season, averaging 0.97 points per game, but the heat has tempered as of late. He had a hat trick on Dec. 1 against the Petes but has struggled to make as big of a show since.

Paul Ludwinski, Kingston Frontenacs

Stats: 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists) 43 SOG in 26 games played

Recently, credit goes to Ludwinski for his consistency: the center has gotten at least one point in almost every game this month. For a center, he’s a selfless player, and has some beautiful assists to his name, such as this one— named the No. 1 assist from the first half of the OHL season.

QMJHL

Samuel Savoie, Gatineau Olympiques

Stats: 31 points (14 G, 17 A) in 29 games played

Savoie has been one of the Blackhawks’ top-scoring prospects all year, but he’s been a bit MIA in December, leaving midway through Gatineau’s last game on Dec. 16 and not returning. He had a four-point game (1 G, 3 A) on Dec. 11 but had just one assist in the other five games before his injury. Nevertheless, his physicality and fore-checking ability make him an asset to the Olympiques.

Gatineau’s next game is Dec. 28 and we’ll see if Savoie is back in the lineup for that game.