Bedard, Blackhawks Prospects Shine at Ted Kurvers Showcase

That didn’t take long.

In his first action in a Chicago Blackhawks‘ uniform, Connor Bedard demonstrated why he was the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft when he netted a hat trick in the Ted Kurvers Prospect Showcase’s opening game. He also added an assist in leading the young Blackhawks to a 5-0 thumping over the prospects of the St. Louis Blues.

Connor Bedard Chicago Blackhawks
Connor Bedard, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

After opening the scoring for the Blackhawks with a right-point shot from 2020 seventh-round selection Louis Crevier, Bedard scored his first goal on a Blackhawks power play when he lasered the puck into the top left corner from the right faceoff dot to extend the lead to 2-0. Colton Dach extended Chicago’s lead to 3-0 when the former second-rounder threw the puck to the net and a fortunate bounce off a Blues’ skate ricocheted into the back of the cage. Bedard added his second and third goals in the third period to finish the scoring for the Blackhawks prospects.

Bedard did not play in the second game of the showcase, a 7-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild prospects.

While the focus of the showcase, especially in the first game, was on Bedard, there were a handful of notable performances from other Blackhawks prospects in these two contests.

Drew Commesso

The former Boston University Terrier was in goal and posted the shutout in the win over the Blues. “It was great to get back on the ice in a game setting after a long time, first game action in a couple of months,” said the 2020 second-round draft pick. “For me, it was getting the pace back, seeing the puck, and tracking it well, and I feel like I did a pretty good job.” With a solid effort from his defense in front of him, Commesso was able to help the Blackhawks kill three power play attempts from the Blues in the first period alone.

USNTDP Drew Commesso
Drew Commesso of the USNTDP (Rena Laverty)

His last action before this game came at the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship, where the 21-year-old netminder made one appearance in the tournament with Team USA, where they fell to Latvia in the bronze medal match. Despite that loss, Commesso stated that he picked up some valuable experience in working with veteran NHL netminders such as Montreal Canadiens’ Casey DeSmith and Philadelphia Flyers’ Cal Petersen.

Latest News & Highlights

Commesso also recently started to follow the workout regimen of All-Star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, following the Russian netminder’s practice of heavily focusing on stretching and caring for the body. Commesso certainly had a Vasilevskiy-like performance in shutting out the Blues prospects.

Martin Misiak

The 2023 second-round pick picked up an assist on Bedard’s first goal against the Blues and scored a second-period goal against the Wild. It was good to see Misiak succeed in the offensive end of the ice, as one of the frequent comments on his potential was that he needs to show more consistency with his scoring abilities. Misiak totaled ten points in 29 games with Nove Zamky in the Slovak Extraliga, a solid rate for an 18-year-old in a professional league. But that didn’t exactly translate when he played in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Youngstown Phantoms, where he had 17 points in 27 games. It is expected that more time spent in the United States will help him feel more at ease in the 2023-24 season.

Kevin Korchinski

The 19-year-old picked up where he left off after a very successful season in the Western Hockey League (WHL) by leading a solid defensive effort in the shutout win over the Blues, playing an instrumental role in helping to kill off four power-play attempts. He also picked up an assist on Bedard’s second goal against the Blues. The 2022 first-round pick displayed his skills in the offensive zone against the Wild when he wheeled around the Minnesota zone and found an open Ryder Rolston, who promptly rifled a shot in from the right circle.

Kevin Korchinski Seattle Thunderbirds
Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds (Candice Ward/CHL)

The Blackhawks will have a decision to make this season with their top defensive prospect. Because he is 19, he can only play in the NHL or be returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, as the NHL has an agreement with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) that prohibits players under 20 from playing with minor pro teams. With a strong training camp, Korchinski could join fellow Team Canada teammate Bedard on the Blackhawks roster for the 2023-24 season. His performance at this showcase will only make that decision even more difficult for the Blackhawks brass.

Nick Lardis

The 2023 third-round pick tallied the opening goal against the Wild and set up Bedard for his third goal against the Blues. Nick Lardis posted 37 goals in 2022-23 with the Peterborough Petes and Hamilton Bulldogs in the Ontario Hockey League. The avid golfer will play next season for Hamilton, where he and the Blackhawks hope that he continues to develop his powerful and accurate shot.

Related: 3 Blackhawks Training Camp Battles to Watch

Overall, the Blackhawks and their prospects had a very successful showcase. This roster of young players will be able to take this experience and use it to help them develop and mature during the 2023-24 season with their teams in juniors, overseas, the Rockford IceHogs, or even at the NHL level.

Substack The Hockey Writers Chicago Blackhawks Banner