When the Chicago Blackhawks traded Brandon Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, and two first-round picks, expectations were high for the acquired players. They say you don’t get a second chance at a first impression, and those two have certainly made a great impression, but none more so than Raddysh. The 24-year-old has five points in eight games since joining the team on March 19. He is playing in his first NHL season and could be a steal of a pickup. This pleasant surprise has fans wanting to get to know the newcomer better. With that, here are five things to know about him.
1. Multi-Sport Threat
As fans are coming to realize, Raddysh looks like he will have a promising career as an NHL forward, but you may be surprised to learn that he is also a dynamic lacrosse player. Dylan Strome, who is a good friend of Raddysh’s, gave some insight into his lacrosse history, stating, “He’s a better lacrosse player than he is a hockey player. He was probably one of the best players in Canada for his age for lacrosse. It’s funny because he’s from Georgetown (Ontario), and he played for the Halton Hills Bulldogs, and they always beat the crap out of us in lacrosse every time” (From ‘childhood to the minors to the NHL, new Chicago Blackhawks Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk have a special bond’, Chicago Tribune, 4/1/22).
Raddysh said lacrosse was a sport he grew up playing as his father, Dwayne, encouraged him to play as he told him it would help with the physicality that hockey brings. He was able to play up a few age groups with his brother Darren, and he was on the all-star team in Ontario for a two-week tournament. If you’re wondering why Raddysh decided to continue down the path of hockey instead of lacrosse, his answer was golden, stating, “Actually, I was pretty good at lacrosse. Kind of gave up on that when I was 14. Just hated running.” Something tells me that with quotes like that, he will be a fun player to listen to behind the mic.
2. Brotherhood Bond with Boris Katchouk
When players are acquired in a trade package together, like Raddysh and Boris Katchouk, I believe it piques fans’ interest in their friendship on their last team, just like when Strome and Brendan Perlini were acquired together by the Blackhawks from the Arizona Coyotes. Raddysh and Katchouk have a long history together that goes beyond Tampa Bay.
In an interview with ‘The Athletic,’ Raddysh and Katchouk stated that met each other when they were between eight and nine years old at a lacrosse circuit. Remember the tidbit above that Raddysh was on the all-star lacrosse team in Ontario? Well, guess who his teammate was during the tournament? Katchouk! It spread to hockey when they entered the 2016 NHL Draft together, and both got selected in the second round by the Lightning, only 14 draft picks apart. Katchouk was drafted first with the 44th pick, and Raddysh was the 58th pick.
They also won the gold medal for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship (WJC) in 2018. They played on different junior hockey teams in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with Raddysh playing for the Erie Otters (alongside Strome and Alex DeBrincat) and Katchouk playing for the Soo Greyhounds. Yet, Raddysh got traded from the Otters to the Greyhounds in 2018. He reunited with Katchouk for the remainder of the OHL season.
They turned pro after the OHL season and joined the Lightning’s AHL affiliate team, the Syracuse Crunch, where they played together for three seasons (2018-2021). They then signed matching three-year contracts with the Lightning in July, and both made their NHL debuts for Tampa Bay three days apart in October 2021, with Raddysh making his debut on Oct. 13 and Katchouk on Oct. 16. Finally, all roads led back to Chicago when they were traded to the Blackhawks…together. Raddysh had some sentimental words to say about their friendship, stating, “I’m just lucky to have a guy like that, that has made it a lot easier for me along the way. We took every step together and had each other for everything. It’s been awesome” (from ‘The Lightning’s ‘Kid Line’ as kids: How best friends Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh grew up together on the ice’, The AthleticNHL, 1/7/21).
3. Raddysh’s Historic Goal-Scoring Streak
Raddysh is a hockey player that has always been renowned for his versatile goal-scoring ability and tough shot. He showed that early in Chicago by scoring two power play goals in back-to-back games on March 20 and 23 against the Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks. Although he is still early in his hockey career, he has made history twice as a goal-scorer. When he played for Team Canada at the WJC in 2016, Canada beat Latvia 10-2, and Raddysh scored four of the 10 goals. As a result, he was named player of the game, and more importantly, he became the fourth player in history to score four goals in a contest for Team Canada at the WJC. The other players that share the honor are Brayden Schenn (St. Louis Blues), Simon Gagne, and Mario Lemieux. As of 2018, Maxime Comtois (Anaheim Ducks) and Connor Bedard (top 2023 NHL Draft prospect) have also joined the exclusive club.
The second historic goal he scored came when he was with the Lightning. Raddysh scored his first NHL goal against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 4, 2021. It was a shorthanded goal, which is the key part of the achievement. He became the fifth player in Bolts history to score a shorthanded goal for their first NHL goal. Considering how impactful he has been for the Blackhawks’ special teams thus far, this achievement makes the excitement for his potential even higher.
4. Family Ties to the Blackhawks
The name “Taylor Raddysh” may not have been familiar to Hawks fans at first, but it has a familial connection to the Blackhawks organization. His brother, Darren, played for the Rockford Icehogs from 2017 to 2019. He went undrafted after spending five years with the Erie Otters. He won the OHL Championship in Erie alongside his brother Taylor, Strome, and DeBrincat.
The 26-year-old defenseman recorded 48 points in 120 games with the Icehogs. The Blackhawks ended up trading him to the New York Rangers in Feb. 2019, and as of right now, he is a member of the Lightning organization after signing a one-year, two-way contract with the team back in July.
5. Good Vibes Only in Chicago
Even with a successful start to his Blackhawks career, Raddysh could not be happier in his new home. When speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times, he stated, “I’m excited. Tampa was kind of a tough situation with how good of a team they had, and they had a lot of guys that I was behind and kind of lower on the minutes and in and out of the lineup. I’m excited to be here and to get a good opportunity to play and show myself and be able to prove myself out there.” He ended the interview in a similar fashion stating, “If I can fit in wherever I fit in, just to be able to get more minutes, that’s obviously an exciting part,’’ Raddysh said. “You get to play more, more things happen, you get more confidence and you start playing better. That’s kind of my main reason I’m very excited to be here” (from ‘Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk have differing views of trade to Blackhawks’, Chicago Sun-Times, 3/20/22).
Raddysh seems like a perfect fit for the Blackhawks so far. Besides his chemistry with DeBrincat and Strome, he also appears to have some with Jonathan Toews as well. Of course, he still has more to prove for the remainder of April, but you couldn’t ask for a better debut. He is excited to be with the Blackhawks, and fans are excited to have him too.
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Just a small town girl with Midwestern charm; combined with a love of dogs, writing, frappuccinos, Chicago-isms, sports, and a whole lot of Blackhawks hockey. Twitter: @brooke_lofo.