Third overall pick in the NHL Draft, a year of college hockey after that, then off to the NHL soon to become captain of the Blackhawks.
That's the path Jonathan Toews took back in 2006, and it could just be the same path carved out for Alex Turcotte.
Turcotte, an 18-year old center expected to be a top-5 pick in the upcoming June draft, knows his fair share about Toews and the Blackhawks. After all, he grew up in Chicago rooting for them.
"That’s a childhood dream, I guess, growing up as Hawks fan," said Turcotte. "You always think of how cool it’d be to play for the Chicago Blackhawks. I think that’s the same for any kid that is from their hometown with a chance to go there. It would be really cool, but in the end I’d be happy anywhere in the NHL."
Turcotte was one of the names linked to the Blackhawks all week at the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo, and he confirmed he had multiple meetings with Chicago. So did prospects Bowen Byram, Kirby Dach and Dylan Cozens, among others.
The Blackhawks once again hold the third overall pick, the same as they did in 2006 when they selected Toews third overall. And it's only fitting that Turcotte has drawn comparisons to the Blackhawks' captain.
"It’s Jonathan Toews so ... he’s going to be a future Hall of Famer. He’s going to be a Hall of Famer and he’s proven himself," Turcotte said. "If I could be half the player he is, that’d be pretty cool. Obviously who knows, only time will tell what’s going to happen but he’s definitely someone that I think I look up to and try to be like. Like I said, he’s a special player and he’s known to be a winner. I can only hope to be as good as him one day."
Similar to Toews, Turcotte's game has been described as "sandpaper and silk" by his United States National Team Development Program coach John Wroblewski.
"I think it’s a pretty good description," Turcotte said. "I think I have a lot of skill but also I’m not afraid to go to the dirty areas and then take it to the net, grind it out in the corners."
His teammates at the USNTDP are confident Turcotte's game will translate to the NHL. And they agree with the assessment of his style of play.
Matthew Boldy called him "competitive" while Trevor Zegras called him "strong." Spencer Knight called him a "bulldog" while Cam York said, in one word, "beast."
Certainly high praise from his peers.
Hockey runs in the Turcotte family. His father, Alfie, was a first round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1983. Alfie was selected 17th overall, and Alex figures to go much higher than that.
"Sometimes I chirp him a little bit about it. Just to give it to him a little bit," Alex said. "But as of today, he’s obviously the only one in my family that’s been drafted in the NHL and he’s gone the highest so far. He always reminds me of that. He always reminds me who has the most NHL point too so there’s really nothing I can say about it."
So how soon can Alex Turcotte potentially join the ranks of the elite in the NHL and surpass his father's 46 career points? That's the big question, as he's committed to play at the University of Wisconsin next season.
"It’s hard to tell. You just have to take it a year at a time," Turcotte said. "Just really looking forward to it and just see how that year goes. And if I feel I’m ready then I’m ready. But definitely I’m keeping an open mind. And if I think I need more time, then so be it. I’m just going to take it a year at a time."
Toews was drafted in 2006 but returned to the University of North Dakota for another season before joining the Blackhawks in the fall of 2007. After one year, he was named the franchise's youngest ever captain. Only two seasons later, Toews captained the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
Alex Turcotte remembers it well. He was at the parade.
“I’ve never seen so many people in the streets obviously. It’s a special moment. The first cup in 49 years so it was pretty cool,” Turcotte said. “I just remember a lot of people just being crazy excited for the Hawks winning the Cup because it was so long. It’s definitely going to stick with me for the rest of my life.”