Blackhawks European prospects update, May 1
Checking in on the Blackhawks prospects playing in Europe.
Checking in on the Chicago Blackhawks prospects currently playing in Europe.
Antti Saarela, Lukko (Liiga)
Stats: 18 points (7 G, 11 A), 10 PIM, 93 SOG in 41 games played
Saarela did not have a hot finish to his season, scoring only 3 points in his final 10 games. He did, however, score two goals in six playoff games. Saarela signed his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in April and can be expected to begin to make his transition soon towards a hopeful NHL arrival.
Riku Tohila, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Stats: 24 points (18 G, 6 A), 65 PIM, 126 SOG in 42 games.
Tohila finished up his season with his U20 team and was then loaned to KeuPa HT, where he managed a goal and two assists in five games. While he is still only 19 years of age, Tohila features a big 6-foot-8 frame and can still move fairly well for his size. He could still add some muscle, but overall looks like the right dancing partner will be key to unlocking his potential.
Ilya Safonov, Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)
Stats: 37 points (19 G, 18 A), 13 PIM, 127 SOG in 64 games. Playoffs: 2 points (1 G, 1 A), 5 PIM, 13 SOG in 6 games.
Ak Bars' captain finished his season on a heater, with 11 points in his final 10 games. While he only managed 6 points (3 G, 3 A) in 20 playoff games, this was an encouring season for Safronov. He is still very young with room to develop, but he features a skill set that the Hawks desperately need more of at the professional level.
Victor Stjernborg, Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)
Stats: 8 points (1 G, 7 A), 0 PIM, 23 SOG in 42 games.
Stjernborg took a while to get going in the 2022-23 season. In 42 games, he managed 8 points but also managed to stay out of the penalty box entirely. Theres still growth to be seen for him to hit the high expectations that were set for him upon being drafted.
Michael Krutil, HC Sparta Praha (Czechia)/HC Banik Sokolov (Czechia 2)
Stats: 1 point (0 G, 1 A), 18 PIM, 41 SOG in 32 games.
Krutil struggled to score points during his 2022-23 season, having only 1 assist in 32 total games. This is uncharacteristic of the types of blueliners the Hawks have been targeting recently. However, Krutil dealt with injuries and being shuffled between two teams in a short period of time. Still, it seems like whatever professional hockey future Krutil has won't be with this organization.