Blackhawks ink prospect Philipp Kurashev to entry-level contract

Blackhawks ink prospect Philipp Kurashev to entry-level contract

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with forward Philipp Kurashev on a three-year, entry-level contract that runs through the 2021-22 season and carries a cap hit of $925,000. He will finish out the season with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.

Kurashev joins Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist and MacKenzie Entwistle on the list of Chicago prospects to have signed their entry-level contracts but remain with their junior teams. Unlike the other three, Kurachev is not a slide candidate — a provision in the CBA that allows teams to push the contract one year if the player doesn't skate in at least 10 NHL games — so there's a chance he could start next season in Rockford when his contract kicks in. Or better yet, even push for a roster spot with the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks acquired Nashville's fourth-round pick last season as part of the Ryan Hartman deal and used it to select Kurashev at No. 120 overall. And the early returns are showing he could be a hidden gem.

As alternate captain for the Remparts, Kurashev leads the Remparts in all three scoring categories with 28 goals, 34 assists and 62 points in 57 games this season. He's averaging 0.97 points per game throughout his three-year career in Quebec, and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 10 career playoff games.

But it wasn't until the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships when Kurashev put himself on the radar.

Serving as the alternate captain for Team Switzerland, he led the tournament with six goals, finished tied for seventh with seven points and earned first-team All-Star honors. He was also named Player of the Game twice, highlighted by a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Denmark.

Kurashev has quickly become one of the Blackhawks' more exciting forward prospects, and it may not be too long before Chicago gets a glimpse of him in an Indianhead sweater.

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Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

The breakout star of Blackhawks development camp in July was undoubtedly Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018. It was evident how much his game has grown over the past year.

Former Blackhawks defenseman — and now player development coach — Brian Campbell worked closely with Boqvist this past season and raved about the steps he took with the London Knights in the OHL. But Campbell is also preaching patience in Boqvist's development. Boqvist just turned 19 on Thursday, and it's important to let him develop at his own pace.

“Yeah, I was impressed," Campbell said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Obviously, he’s come a long way in a year from last development camp. There’s no pressure being put on him. He’ll develop at his time. If he pushes for a spot, great, but I just don’t want people to get away. There’s a lot to keep learning and he wants to learn, which is the greatest thing. His teammates love him: great thing. He wants to do extra and learn the game: great thing. He is preparing himself days before, even in development camp, he’s preparing himself days before. So all great things and he’s on the right path.

"Hopefully that happens and maybe it does happen but if it doesn’t then that’s not the case and he keeps getting better and wants to keep getting better. Definitely, we know his skill level is there and I think he’s taken a huge step in the last year in preparing himself and knowing how to prepare as a pro player now. There’s a lot of great things there, and hopefully he does do that, but for me, I just don’t want to put too much on him right now. He’s turning 19 soon so he’s still a really young kid and it’s a tough position to play at a pro level. Believe me, I’m smiling, but I just don’t want to force the issue too much. Hopefully he can do some great things, but if he doesn’t, then that’s OK too.” 

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula had a successful college hockey career. He compiled 127 points (62 goals, 65 assists) in 162 career games across four seasons at North Dakota, and served as an alternate captain during his senior year.

But before committing to college, Caggiula was being recruited by the Erie Otters of the OHL and there could've been a moment where he played with Connor McDavid and current teammates Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome all at the same time.

“I remember telling Sherry Bassin, the GM of Erie, how I was going to go to college," Caggiula said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "He kept reiterating that, 'at 16 years old, we’re not going to be that great. But at 17, we’re going to be a little bit better, but not great. But at 18 and 19, those are going to be your big years and we’re going to have a really good team and we’re going to surround you with good players.’ I mean, that’s two years in the future so it’s hard to really see that.

"Looking back at it now, the players that I could have played with, they had some pretty talented players go through Erie. Even Dylan Larkin was an Erie draft pick and ended up going to Michigan. It could have been a pretty talented team there so it’s kind of funny to see how it all works out. We’re all here today coming from different paths so it’s pretty cool.”

Any chirps from the guys about his decision now?

“Yeah, Connor [McDavid] used to make fun of me all the time, you know? ‘Oh, we would have won the Memorial Cup if you would have joined the team!’ and all that sort of stuff," Caggiula joked. "We talk about it a little bit just here and there saying, ‘what a team we could have had and imagine who we would have been playing with and now we’re all here together. What if we all would have started in Erie together and now we’re here together?’ It just would have been a pretty cool story. It’s obviously something that we can’t control but it’s definitely something that you can look back at and laugh at.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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