Blackhawks News & Rumors: Philp, Stauber, Jones, Top Prospects

The 2023 NHL All-Star Break is officially in the books, and it’s time for all 32 clubs to regroup and settle in for the remainder of the 2022-23 season. As we know, the Chicago Blackhawks won’t be one of those teams in the mix for a playoff push. But they will inevitably encounter their fair share of change as the Mar. 3 trade deadline approaches. Playoff excitement aside, there are still plenty of storylines to follow for this rebuilding squad. To get us back into the season’s groove, let’s dive into some of the latest news and rumors.

Forward Philp Presents Puck to His Mom

This story kind of got lost in the shuffle in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Jan. 26. Veteran forward Tyler Johnson had been placed on injured reserve again earlier in the week for ongoing issues with a high ankle sprain. Then, it was announced star center Jonathan Toews was under the weather and would not suit up for the game.

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These developments left slots open for depth forward Boris Katchouk, who had been a healthy scratch the previous nine contests. It also allowed Luke Philp to play in his second ever NHL game. He had been told earlier in the day he would be a scratch as well.

Related – Blackhawks’ 3 Up, 3 Down: Team’s Contributions, Katchouk & More

Philp being called up from the Rockford IceHogs in the first place was a bit of an anomaly. At 27 years old, he is no prospect. As a matter of fact, by this point in his career he would be considered a permanent minor-leaguer. But Philp was playing well with the IceHogs, and the Blackhawks wanted to reward him. At the time of his call-up, Philp was actually tied with top prospect Lukas Reichel for team goals. They both had 14 goals, which ranked third. Philp also was first on the team with six power play goals, and overall had 30 points in 31 games.

In the game against the Flames, Philp (No. 39) provided the primary assist to Katchouk in the second period to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead.

This ended up being the game-winning goal, and Philp’s first NHL point. What a moment for the Canmore, Alberta native; and to achieve this life-long goal just an hour away from his home town was just icing on the cake. Philp’s family and friends were in attendance at the game, and he later presented his mom with the puck.

Philp is now back with the IceHogs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him up with the Blackhawks at some point this season.

Stauber Secures First Two NHL Wins

Philp wasn’t the only unconventional player making some waves with the Blackhawks in the win against Calgary. Because of goaltender injuries with the Blackhawks (Alex Stalock) and with the IceHogs (Arvid Soderblom), 23-year-old Jaxson Stauber got the call-up on Jan. 11 to back up Petr Mrazek. After Mrazek made four straight starts, Stauber got the nod for his first NHL game on Jan. 21 against the St. Louis Blues.

Jaxson Stauber Chicago Blackhawks
Jaxson Stauber made his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 21. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He impressed many with an extremely composed outing, stopping 29-of-32 shots for a .906 save percentage in the 5-3 win. Just five days later, he earned his second start AND second win against the Flames, stopping 34-of-35 shots for a .971 SV%. This was the first time a Blackhawks’ rookie goaltender won his first two games since Gilles Meloche did so in 1971, over 50 years ago.

Stauber was sent back down to the IceHogs during the NHL All-Star break, but was recalled again on Feb. 5. This is good news for Stauber, as he could potentially see more starts. It’s not such good news for Stalock, who remains in concussion protocol.  

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Jones Makes All-Star History

Defenseman Seth Jones was the lone representative for the Blackhawks at the All-Star festivities this past weekend. While many thought he was one of the weaker links to be an All-Star, he was the one selected and he took his assignment seriously.

Jones notched a goal and an assist with the Central Division team’s 6-4 win over the Pacific Division to earn a trip to the Final. Alas, they fell 7-5 to the Atlantic Division, but not before Jones recorded three more shots on goal, one of them narrowly missing the back of the net.  

This was Jones’ fourth All-Star appearance, as he represented his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, in 2017, 2019 and 2020. With his goal this time around, he made some All-Star history.

The Blackhawks’ top defenseman has also been on a roll with Chicago of late, notching three goals and nine assists in the month of January. Hopefully he can continue his success in February.

Blackhawks Prospect Ranking Rises

Finally, let’s end with some positive news for the future. While being at the bottom of the basement in the standings this season has been a tough pill to swallow, it’s a necessary part of the rebuilding process. On Sunday morning, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic released an article naming the Blackhawks as No. 5 in the NHL prospect pool rankings for 2023. This is pretty impressive considering they were ranked 25th in 2022. (from ‘Chicago Blackhawks are No. 5 in 2023 NHL prospect pool rankings’, The Athletic – 2/2/23).

Wheeler listed defenseman Kevin Korchinski as the Blackhawks’ No. 1 prospect, with forwards Lukas Reichel and Frank Nazar coming in second and third, respectively. Other noteworthy names were Ryan Greene (Center), Sam Rinzel (Defense) and Ethan Del Mastro (D). Goaltenders Drew Commesso and Arvid Soderblom were on the list, as well as current IceHogs’ defensemen Isaak Phillips and Alex Vlasic.

Kevin Korchinski Chicago Blackhawks
Kevin Korchinski, drafted 7th overall in the 2022 NHL Draft, is currently considered the Chicago Blackhawks’ top prospect. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This is even before the Blackhawks are “set to pick multiple times in each of the first three rounds of the 2023 draft, so there’s a real opportunity for them to climb even further than this next year if they play their cards right.”

Lots of fans have been critical of Blackhawks’ general manager Kyle Davidson considering the product on the ice this season. But if a rebuild really does come from the drafting, Davidson appears to be on the right track. Only time will tell.

Related – 5 Reasons the Blackhawks Found More Success in January

The Blackhawks season commences again this Tuesday night versus the Anaheim Ducks. There are 13 more contests before the trade deadline, and 34 more games left in the 2022-23 campaign. Keep it here at The Hockey Writers for all the latest news, rumors and analysis as the Blackhawks continue their journey!