As the 2021 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament comes to an end, undrafted players, like Mike Hardman, are getting signed to NHL contracts.
Hardman signed a two-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, which will go through the 2021-22 season. The young prospect will wear No. 86 and will get assigned to the taxi squad immediately to begin his professional career.
The right-winger’s career began in the United States Hockey League (USHL) playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers. From there, he made his way up north to play in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) playing for the West Kelowna Warriors, and then spent the next two seasons playing for Boston College.
Junior Hockey Career
Hardman began playing in the USHL for the Des Moines Buccaneers as an 18-year-old where he appeared in 56 games, scoring 10 goals and 13 assists for a total of 23 points in the 2017-18 season.
Although the Buccaneers had an unsuccessful season that year in failing to qualify for the playoffs, Hardman finished in the top six in goals, assists, and points on his team, showcasing that he can score and make plays for his teammates.
After playing just one year in the USHL, Hardman took his talents to the BCHL to join the West Kelowna Warriors for the 2018-19 season where he would have one of the most productive seasons in his career.
Hardman had a dominant season finishing with team-high numbers in goals and points with 39 and 72, and finishing with 33 assists. In the 2018-19 BCHL regular season, Hardman finished second in most goals scored and recorded the third-most points in the league.
Although Hardman had a great season playing for the Warriors in the BCHL, they fell short in winning the Doyle Cup.
After playing just one year in the BCHL, Hardman committed to Boston College where he would play the next two seasons for head coach Jerry York.
Hardman began his NCAA career as a 20-year-old, appearing in 34 games, scoring 12 goals and 13 assists for a total of 25 points for the Eagles as a freshman. Boston College went on to finish the 2019-20 season with 24 wins and 8 losses, leading them to miss the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
In Hardman’s sophomore season at Boston
The Eagles finished the season with a 17-6-1 record and qualified for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, Boston College fell short in the semifinals to St. Cloud State, losing 4-1.
What does Hardman bring to the Blackhawks?
Looking at Hardman’s track record as a hockey player, he’s going to do a bit everything when it comes to the offensive side. Almost every season that he has played so far, he has had as many goals as assists which will make him valuable at the NHL level.
Like Josiah Slavin, Hardman has the ability to make an impact right away whether that will be the Rockford Icehogs or the Blackhawks, and it’s always nice to add a young prospect from one of the best college hockey programs, in Boston College.
Now looking into his contract, Hardman will make $912,500 this season and in 2021-22 before becoming a restricted free agent in 2022-23.
With this signing, the Blackhawks add to their already impressive young group of prospects with Pius Suter, Philipp Kurashev, Ian Mitchell, Josiah Slavin, and now Hardman.
Although the Blackhawks have surprised many this season as they are on the verge of potentially earning a playoff spot this season, it is safe to say that Chicago could become one of the better younger teams in the future.