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Blackhawks’ 2022 NHL Draft Class: Analysis, Scouting Reports on Chicago’s Newest Prospects

Chicago general manager Kyle Davidson and director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey selected nine forwards and two defensemen.

Chicago Blackhawks Draft Picks 2022
Photo: Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson and director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey’s first draft is in the books. Here’s a rundown of the players they selected at the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Doneghey’s quotes below are from his media availability.

Kevin Korchinski, LHD, WHL Seattle (1st round, No. 7)

Size: 6-foot-2, 185 pounds

Models his game after: Shea Theodore

He scored 65 points (four goals, 61 assists) in 67 regular-season games last season with Seattle of the WHL. His assists and points ranked second and fourth, respectively, among WHL defensemen. He led all WHL blue liners with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 25 playoff games.

Doneghey: “He’s an unbelievable playmaker with the puck, gets up ice fast, he gets back for pucks fast, is really good on the power play. He’s different than a lot of the defensemen we’ve drafted in the last few years. He’s really puck-friendly. He’ll be a first-unit power-play guy, projects to be a first-pairing defenseman, can eat minutes. He’s got that long body. So I still think a ceiling is there. Character references, even from the teammates that we looked at this year. He’s a rink rat. He’s there early shooting pucks, nicknames for everybody; he’s a hockey junkie.”

Frank Nazar, RH-C, USNTDP (1st round, No. 13)

Size: 5-10, 180 pounds

Models his game after: Brayden Point

Nazar scored 70 points (28 goals, 42 assists) in 56 games for the United States National under-18 team. He also registered 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 24 USHL games for the USNTDP juniors. The Michigan native added nine points (three goals, six assists) in six games on Team USA’s silver-medal winning team at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championships.

Nazar will stay in his home state and play for the University of Michigan, a program loaded with high-end talent.

Doneghey: “Easy player to like. You’ve heard me say speed, speed, speed. He can absolutely fly. He makes quick plays under pressure and he’s not afraid to drive the middle of the ice on the rush, bring people with them and then bounce the puck out left or right. A lot of utility. He didn’t get a lot of power-play time this year because their top unit was excellent. Very good on the penalty kill and character, again, through the roof. Checks a lot of boxes, leadership material.”

Sam Rinzel, RD, MNHS (1st round, No. 25)

Size: 6-4, 180 pounds

Rinzel scored 38 points (nine goals, 29 assists) in 27 games for Chaska (Minnesota) High School. He then joined the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, and registered 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 21 games. He will return to Waterloo for next season then head to the University of Minnesota.

Doneghey: “We watched him in high school and it was just there was so much to like, because of his frame and his skating ability is smooth and high end. Needs to put on some weight. Confident he’ll do it. He’s more on the longer path, but there’s just so much to mold with him. The good pieces are there — the skating, the size, the right shot. He’s a little more puck-friendly than maybe some of the guys that we’ve taken.”

Paul Ludwinski, LH-C, OHL Kingston (2nd round, No. 39)

Size: 5-11, 183 pounds

Ludwinski scored 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 67 regular-season games. He added 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 11 playoff games. Lundwinski is teammates with Shane Wright, who the Seattle Kraken selected fourth overall.

Doneghey: “Paul is a two-way centerman. Was on Shane Wright’s team, he was the third-line center in that group. They bumped him up to wing quite a bit if they felt they needed to get Shane going a little bit. He’s got some snarl in his game, inside, good offense. I think his offensive numbers will be better when he gets more opportunity next year, whether Shane’s there or not, he might move up into that role. He’s very good on the penalty kill. Oozes character. He’s got that look in his eye, like you win with those type of guys.”

Ryan Greene, RH-C, USHL Green Bay (2nd round, No. 57)

Size: 6-2, 179 pounds

Models his game after: Elias Lindholm

Greene scored 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 59 regular-season games in his second full USHL season. The right-hander will join Chicago goalie prospect Drew Commesso next season at Boston University.

Doneghey: “We talked about centers, speed down the middle, a lot of value with a right-shot center. I don’t want to say he’s playing the long game like Sam Rinzel is, but he’s got to get a little stronger physically but he’s got the frame to carry a little bit more. Skating’s really strong. Competitive, character.”

Gavin Hayes, W, OHL Flint (Third round, No. 66)

Size: 6-2, 176 pounds

Models his game after: Blake Wheeler

Hayes scored 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) in 65 regular-season games. He added 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 19 OHL playoff games.

Doneghey: “This year in Flint, he didn’t get a lot of opportunity early. He had to keep proving himself night after night. [Former Rockford IceHogs head coach] Ted Dent made him earn his strives. It didn’t go great for Gavin all the way along, especially at the beginning, and he wasn’t knocking on coaches doors or any of that type of stuff, he took it upon himself to figure it out and he did. One thing that resonates with me, I was at a game this year where he set the Flint record for points in a game. He had two goals and four assists, and it wasn’t off the shinpad or it wasn’t a dump-in that the scorekeeper just gave him an assist. It was two goals and four primary assists. He’s got sneaky skill. He can shoot a puck.” 

Samuel Savoie, LW, QMJHL Gatineau (3rd round, No. 81)

Size: 5-10, 190 pounds

Models his game after: Brad Marchand

Savoie scored 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in 64 regular-season games. He added one goal in seven playoff games. Gatineau selected Savoie fourth overall in the 2020 QMJHL Entry Draft.

“His energy, his physical side, speed, and offensive abilities. It’s a mix of all that which makes him a good player,” Olympiques head coach Louis Robitaille told QMJHL.ca. “He can play anywhere in a lineup, both on the power play and the penalty kill. The more emotional and important a game is, the better he is.”

Doneghey: “Samuel is just a ball of energy. A thick, big motor. Played some wing this year but he also got bumped in the middle. Total character. If you can think like a Yanni Gourde-type player, just speed, speed, relentless, just gets after it.”

Aidan Thompson, LH-C, USHL Lincoln (3rd round, No. 90)

Size: 5-11, 180 pounds

Thompson, who turned 20 in February, scored 82 points (24 goals, 58 assists) in 57 regular-season games. He added four assists in three playoff games. The Colorado native will head back home to play for the reigning NCAA champion University of Denver.

Doneghey: “Coaches think he was the fastest skater in the league as a center. He had a ton of points this year, might’ve been top-5 scoring in the USHL, I don’t know where exactly. We really like that he’s going to Denver. We have a good relationship with David Carle and he’s going to get a lot of opportunity there. They do a very good job at developing players.”

Dominic James, LW, NCAA Minnesota Duluth (6th round, No. 173)

Size: 5-11, 165 pounds

James scored 18 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 39 games as a freshman. He is college teammates with fellow Chicago prospects Wyatt Kaiser and Connor Kelley. James also was teammates at USHL Lincoln with Thompson.

Doneghey: “[Associate GM] Norm Maciver saw him a lot. He was able to see Dominic quite a bit. Feisty, competitive, north-south winger and has an inside game.”

Nils Juntorp, RW, HV71 U20 (6th round, No. 188)

Size: 6-1, 185 pounds

The Swedish forward scored 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in 44 regular-season games. He added one assist in five playoff games.

Juntorp could make the jump to North America this year and play for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Dubuque selected him in the seventh round of the 2022 USHL Entry Draft.

Doneghey: “Speed is his whole game. He’s an up-down winger, speed, fast on the forecheck.”

Riku Tohila, RW, JYP U20 (7th round, No. 199)

Size: 6-5, 190 pounds

The Finnish forward scored 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 41 games. Thanks to his size, he could see time in Liiga soon.

Doneghey“I’ve never seen him play, but our Finnish scout Mikko Luoma [has]. This kid comes from a small town, very behind the curve. He’s 6-8 who’s a right-hand center, very naive, very behind the curve but the value of the skating and obviously the size, I respect what Mikko’s thoughts on him.”

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Brandon is a contributor for On Tap Sports Net covering the Chicago Blackhawks, Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Steel. He also covers the Blackhawks as an independent correspondent for NHL.com. Follow Brandon on Twitter @brandonmcain.

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