Blackhawks NCAA prospect update for 3/22: Tourney Time

Conference and national tournaments highlight this round of reports.

Checking in on the Chicago Blackhawks prospects currently playing in NCAA.


Frank Nazar, Michigan

Stats: 5 points (1 G, 4 A) in 10 GP

For the first time this season, we have actual hockey games from Nazar to discuss. He’s played in 10 since recovering from an injury earlier in the season, helping Michigan repeat as Big Ten champions. He hasn’t racked up a ton of points, but he has received some praise for his work on the defensive side of the ice:

Any hockey is good hockey for Nazar at this stage of his career, so Michigan’s deep postseason run is a positive development for the long-term view of Nazar’s career.

Here was the lineup for Michigan’s final game of the Big Ten tournament, a 4-3 win over Minnesota:

Nazar and the rest of the Wolverines earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament and they’ll face Colgate in the first game on Friday night.

Ryan Greene, Boston

Stats: 31 points (9 G, 22 A) in 35 GP

Greene’s been providing steady, solid performances for the Terriers in his freshman season, having at least one point in 8 of the last 10 games. Last weekend, as Boston earned a spot in the NCAA tournament (more on that below), Greene had a pair of assists in the semifinal against Providence and another assist in the Hockey East championship against Merrimack.

Greene maintained his spot on Boston’s second line for that championship game:

Boston opens play in the NCAA tournament on Thursday afternoon against Western Michigan — a game that will be broadcast on ESPN 2, starting at 1 p.m. CT.

Aidan Thompson, Denver

Stats: 30 points (9 G, 21 A) in 31 GP

Thompson is another Blackhawks prospect headed to the NCAA tournament after Denver — ranked No. 4 in the most recent college hockey poll — received an at-large bid following its upset loss to Colorado College in the NCHC semifinals. Like Greene, Thompson’s been providing steady production for the Pioneers, with points in 9 of the last 12 games.

It’s been a solid freshman season for Thompson at Denver, one that continues on Thursday afternoon against Cornell.

Dominic James, Minnesota-Duluth

Stats: 28 points (10 G, 18 A) in 35 GP

James’ sophomore season ended on March 12 when UMD lost to Dominic Basse (more on him later) and St. Cloud State in the opening round of the NCHC playoffs, falling 3-1 in the decisive third game of that best-of-3 series. James finished the season on fire, with 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in the final 9 games. Two of those games were multi-point nights for the sophomore: two assists against St. Cloud State on March 4 and then one goal and one assist against the same opponent on March 11.

Here’s the aforementioned goal:

James’ season totals above were a noticeable improvement from his freshman season at UMD, when James had 18 points (6 G, 12 A) in 39 games. He ended the season as UMD’s No. 1 center, too:

Considering one of James’ teammates already signed with the Blackhawks, it’s safe to assume an NHL contract isn’t on the way right now for James, who’ll likely return to UMD for at least one more college hockey season before the option to turn pro is presented.

Jake Wise, Ohio State

Stats: 35 points (12 G, 23 A) in 38 GP

Although Ohio State lost in the Big Ten semifinals to Michigan, Wise and the No. 8 Buckeyes received a bid to the NCAA tournament and will open against Harvard on Friday afternoon. Wise continues to be one of the offensive leaders for Ohio State, second on the team in points and third on the team in goals and assists.

His nine power-play goals lead the team, with the last one coming in that 7-3 loss to Michigan — a three-point night (1 G, 2 A) for Wise:

This has been the best season of college hockey for the fifth-year senior, who turned 23 in February, making him older than most of his college opponents. The Blackhawks still retain his rights and turning pro seems like the next route for Wise, whenever Ohio State’s postseason run ends.

Landon Slaggert, Notre Dame

Stats: 14 points (7 G, 7 A) in 35 GP

A disappointing season overall for Notre Dame ended in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament, with Michigan State besting the Fighting Irish in the best-of-3 series. After a brief offensive spurt in early February with 5 points (4 G, 1 A) in four games, Slaggert went without a point in the final four games of his junior season, falling well behind his 26 points (12 G, 14 A) as a sophomore in 2021-22.

Despite those struggles, though, Slaggert did remain in the top-six for Notre Dame’s season finale:

Slaggert also picked up a postseason honor:

Given the way this season went for Slaggert, he’s likely headed back to South Bend for his senior season.

Ryder Rolston, Notre Dame

Stats: 20 points (7 G, 13 A) in 27 GP

The only news to report on Rolston is that he signed with the Blackhawks earlier in March. He did not play in any games since the last update due to a broken collarbone suffered in late January. He could be joining the IceHogs for game action in the next few weeks, though.


Taige Harding, Providence

Stats: 17 points (4 G, 13 A) in 37 GP

The postseason success for Greene above came at the expense of the next two players on the list, as Harding and Kelley had their hockey seasons ended with Providence’s loss to Boston.

Harding had a quieter stretch on the scoresheet to end the season, with a pair of assists against Northeastern on March 11 as his only points over the final eight games of the season. But he was still skating on Providence’s top four as the season completed:

After playing in just 15 games last season, Harding saw an expanded role on the Providence blue line while skating in all 38 of the Friars’ games this season. He’s another prospect who’ll likely return to college for another season next fall.

Connor Kelley, Providence

Stats: 6 points (0 G, 6 A) in 22 GP

Kelley was in and out of the lineup over the final few months of the season, again absent from the D pairings detailed above in the Friars’ season finale. He’s probably destined for another season at Providence after transferring there following two college seasons at Minnesota-Duluth.

Wyatt Kaiser, Minnesota-Duluth

Stats: 23 points (5 G, 18 A) in 35 GP

Kaiser finished strong for the Bulldogs, who did not qualify for the NCAA tournament, allowing Kaiser to sign with the Blackhawks one week ago and make his NHL debut a few games later. Here’s one of the goals from the tail end of his college career:

With the way the Blackhawks have been rotating youngsters on the blue line this season, Kaiser could be back in the lineup on Thursday night when Chicago faces the Washington Capitals.


Dominic Basse, St. Cloud State

Stats: .911 save percentage, 2.30 goals-against average, 3 shutouts in 19 games

Basse’s had a pretty good season with the Huskies, who won the NCHC playoffs to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, opening against Minnesota State on Thursday.

But Basse did have a couple of rough outings in the last month. He played just 8:40 against Omaha on Feb. 25 while allowing two goals on five shots and was pulled, although coach Brett Larson later said he was that was less on Basse and more on the team’s overall lackluster start. In Basse’s his most recent action — March 11 against Minnesota-Duluth — he surrendered 4 goals on 22 shots against during a 5-1 loss.

Basse did not play as St. Cloud State won its semifinal and final in the NCHC playoffs, with Larson saying the decision is basically a toss-up between Basee and Jaxon Castor:

We’ll see which side of the coin is called upon for that Thursday game against Minnesota State.

Drew Commesso, Boston

Stats: .912 save percentage, 2.51 goals-against average, 22-7 record

Commesso’s strong season has continued into the postseason, guiding the Terriers to a spot in the NCAA tournament after winning the Hockey East tournament. Here’s a quick sample of Commesso’s recent work:

In two games last weekend, Commesso stopped 60 of 63 shots (.952 save percentage) to help the Terriers claim that conference title while earning some individual honors:

Commesso was especially good in the semifinal game against Providence, when Boston was outshot 38-25 by the Friars. But Commesso’s stellar play in net kept the Terriers in the game and allowed them to advance with an overtime win — sounds familiar, doesn’t it?