Blackhawks AHL prospect update for 2/2: IceHogs slumping in ‘23
Rockford’s won just two of its last nine games, free-falling down the standings in the process.
It’s that time again when we check in on the Chicago Blackhawks prospects playing in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs.
The IceHogs hit a rough patch lately, losing seven of nine and falling from second in the AHL’s Central Division to fifth. They had issues scoring recently — generating only 2.1 goals per game in that span — but more importantly, they struggled heavily with keeping goals against were outscored, allowing an average of 4.1 goals per game. Adding insult to injury, four of the losses were against divisional rivals, which is the main reason for their fall down the standings.
Rockford did manage to win their last game 3-2 in overtime against the Manitoba Moose and ended a seven-game losing streak in the process, but they’ll need to really regroup to get back into playoff position.
RECAP: IceHogs Snap Losing Streak With Guttman’s Shootout Winnerhttps://t.co/pFLApogquO— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) February 1, 2023
One area to watch out for are the players who have returned from their NHL stints with the Blackhawks as they’ve had some struggles. And goalie Jaxson Stauber hasn’t played a game with the IceHogs since the previous update, so he will not be included.
Stats: 40 points (14 G, 26 A), 75 SOG in 40 games played
For the first time this season, Reichel did not produce at a point-per-game pace between prospect updates. Not only that, his last eight games contained his worst offensive performances since entering the AHL last season, earning just four assists. It’s a testament to how overwhelmingly good Reichel had been previously this season that his total for the year is still impressive: 40 points in 40 games. But while the offensive issues are a team-wide thing, Reichel definitely hasn’t looked like himself since being reassigned from the Blackhawks on Jan 14.
He did have a silky smooth shootout winner in the game against the Moose, but that’s perhaps his most interesting feat recently:
Reichel does it again 😤 pic.twitter.com/wpyxKYZ0VM— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) February 1, 2023
Stats: 26 points (14 G, 12 A), 80 SOG in 35 games played
Guttman is one of the few players who seems to be playing at a similar level as usual, although he’s not being rewarded for that effort quite as much. Still, his four points (3 G, 1 A) in nine games is third among prospects in terms of points-per-game for the IceHogs behind only Reichel and Galvas.
His impressive puck handling skills and ability to maintain possession well despite his smaller size were on display on for two of his three goals since the last update:
Cole's simply just magical✨ pic.twitter.com/wMwfyyrpwL— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) February 1, 2023
Cole's making moves and making them miss 🤩 pic.twitter.com/SHd82Umph3— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) January 25, 2023
GUTTMAN WINS THE SHOOTOUT 🐷👏🙌 pic.twitter.com/DiY3q57rN8— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) February 1, 2023
Stats: 14 points (3 G, 11 A), 61 SOG in 34 games played
The good news for Hardman is that he was finally consistently in the Rockford lineup, playing in all nine games since the last update. The bad news for him is that he had just one goal and an assist in the same span, meaning he’s going backwards in terms of production this season.
*Cue Take Me Out To The Ballgame* pic.twitter.com/KkMhasKR8e— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) February 1, 2023
Defensively, Hardman has been adequate, but he’d need to be much better for a chance at a lower-line role in the NHL with his offense dropping so much.
Stats: 9 points (3 G, 6 A), 43 SOG in 27 games played
In contrast to Hardman, Slavin is the type of player who could make the transition to the NHL simply because of his defensive prowess. While the rest of the team was found lacking in their own end recently, Slavin was still putting his everything into breaking up plays and playing hard on the forecheck.
Slavin also did produce two goals in nine games — rare moments where his high-effort, hard-working style translated into production this season.
Slavin helping us tweet goals 😁 pic.twitter.com/xMPqIgZ6rB— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) January 19, 2023
Effort til the very end 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/z1CRjXxAwg— Rockford IceHogs (@goicehogs) January 28, 2023
Stats: 12 points (5 G, 7 A), 53 SOG in 33 games played
Another forward prospect having a rough season, Teplý still hasn’t managed to find his groove with or without the puck. He registered zero points in the six games he played, bringing his pointless streak to 11 games. And while Teplý’s never been particularly strong defensively, he seemed more disengaged than usual.
Stats: 3 points (0 G, 3 A), 53 SOG in 38 games played
Crevier has been one of the players struggling the most over the last several games. It’s not surprising he had zero points in his last seven games, but it’s a bit odd that he’s been so inconsistent when it comes to play in his own end. Coverage hasn’t been great, his reaction time has been slower, and he’s mishandled the puck more often in recent games than perhaps the rest of the season combined. For a typically quiet player, Crevier’s mistakes have been a little too loud lately.
Stats: 22 points (1 G, 16 A), 43 SOG in 41 games played
Like Guttman above, Galvas was one of the players who seemed very engaged recently, especially offensively. He picked up five assists in his last nine games, but it felt like he could have had even more if his teammates could finish better.
Galvas has been solid defensively as well, but in a more muted manner than his offense.
Stats: 18 points (3 G, 14 A), 47 SOG in 29 games played
Like Reichel, Phillips hasn’t really looked the same in the four games with Rockford since being reassigned from the Blackhawks. He hasn’t necessarily been bad, but he just hasn’t been the same in comparison to the high quality he was playing earlier in the season. He looked more like himself in the latest game against Manitoba, where he picked up an assist and had a strong defensive effort, so hopefully he can build on that momentum to get back to form.
While he was still up with Chicago, Phillips did sit down for a long discussion with NBC Sports Chicago reporter Charlie Roumeliotis:
20 questions with #Blackhawks defenseman Isaak Phillips: https://t.co/HD72JGQcoq— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 25, 2023
Stats: 16 points (5 G, 11 A), 86 SOG in 34 games played
After a point-per-game burst earlier in January, Regula went stone cold offensively in his last eight games with zero points. Obviously, several defensemen failed to register a point recently, but it’s shocking that Regula was one of them considering the upwards trend he’d been on previously. The biggest issue for the 6-foot-4 defender has been his lack of pace in transition, an area in which he’s typically excelled.
Stats: 8 points (3 G, 5 A), 35 SOG in 18 games played
There’s not much to talk about when it comes to Roos since the last update. He has just one assist in his last six games, and his defensive performance was mostly nondescript outside of a few rough patches in which he turned the puck over.
Roos was recalled to Chicago on Jan. 23 but did not play any game with the Blackhawks.
Stats: 6 points (1 G, 5 A), 49 SOG in 23 games played
Vlasic assisted on two goals in his last nine games, which is solid for a guy who tends to play a stay-at-home style. Defensively, he’s been one of the better players for Rockford during a time when defense hasn’t been the team’s strong suit. There are some games in which Vlasic has had a rocky time — he’s inconsistent when it comes to using his physicality properly or even at all — but he’s been a bright spot, typically.
Rockford head coach Anders Sorensen commented recently on Vlasic improvement defensively:
‘‘His positioning on the ice has been very good, and because of his length and his reach, he’s hard to get around. You add the positioning with that, and it’s really hard to play against him.’’
For more commentary from Sorenson and Vlasic on the latter’s progress as a player, check out this article from Ben Pope of the Sun-Times:
Alex Vlasic is pushing himself outside his comfort zones, particularly when it comes to holding onto the puck, this season in Rockford.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) January 14, 2023
"I want to learn what I’m capable of doing, and I’m only going to learn from making mistakes."
New story: https://t.co/iBv7YmrPb6
Stats: .862 save-percentage, 4.17 goals against average in 5 AHL games
Unfortunately, Söderblom’s rocky season continued recently. He’s played in five of the nine games since the last update, allowing an average of 4.4 goals against with a .843 save-percentage in that span. The team in front has been poor defensively and his groin injury has perhaps affected his play, but the Swedish netminder just hasn’t been as good as he has been in the past.
Hopefully, Söderblom will be able to build on his latest game in which he saved 31 of 33 shots for a .939 save-percentage against the Moose.
Up next: The IceHogs have two very important games this Friday and Saturday against the Iowa Wild, another team ahead of them in the standings in the Central Division. With fewer than 30 games left in the season, Rockford has to start beating their divisional opponents more regularly as they play catch-up.