Which Blackhawks prospects to watch for at 2019 World Juniors


Which Blackhawks prospects to watch for at 2019 World Juniors

The Blackhawks have seven prospects participating at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is the most of any NHL team.

With the tournament kicking off on Wednesday and running through Jan. 5, 2019 in British Columbia, here are the seven players to keep an eye on:

Evan Barratt, F — USA

Barratt has been a pleasant surprise for the Blackhawks organization this year. He's had a breakout season in college, where he leads the NCAA in scoring with 29 points in 17 games.

A third-round pick (90th overall) in 2017, Barratt is the first player in Penn State history to participate in the World Juniors and has a chance to prove himself against the elite at his age on a big stage.

Adam Boqvist, D — Sweden

Taken No. 8 overall in June, Boqvist is the Blackhawks' top prospect and also the youngest one participating in this tournament. He turned 18 in August, and has been a driving force for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League.

Boqvist had only one goal in his first 15 games, but since then has eight goals in as many games and leads all London defensemen with 64 shots on goal. Expect him to play a top-four role for Sweden.

MacKenzie Entwistle, F — Canada

The Blackhawks may have found a hidden prospect in Entwistle, who was acquired from Arizona as part of the package that got Marian Hossa's contract off the books. He has 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL, already surpassing his goal total from last year (13) and doing so in 20 fewer games. 

Entwistle had a strong showing at the World Juniors Under-18 tournament in 2016-17, potting four goals and adding three assists in five games. He's likely to be competing for a fourth-line role and on the penalty kill.

Entwistle was drafted in the third round (69th overall) in 2017.

Jakub Galvas, D — Czech Republic

In his second go-around at the World Juniors, Galvas will serve as an alternate captain for the Czech Republic. He had two assists in seven games last tournament, which ended in an 8-3 loss in the bronze medal game.

Galvas has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 26 games for HC Olomouc after having 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 42 games last season in the Czech Republic's top division.

He was drafted in the fifth round (150th overall) in 2017.

Henri Jokiharju, D — Finland

Chicago is already well familiar with Jokiharju, who has played on the top pairing for the majority of the season and was second on the Blackhawks in even-strength ice time for defensemen before getting loaned to Finland for the World Juniors. He has 11 assists in 32 games.

A first-round pick (29th overall) in 2017, Jokiharju had four points (two goals, two assists) in five games at last year's tournament and is serving as an alternate captain this year. He's surely to play a big role for Finland, both on the ice and in the leadership department as someone who's become a staple in the NHL at 19 years old.

Philipp Kurashev, F — Switzerland

Kurashev has had a breakout season for the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, leading the team with 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 33 games.

Drafted in the fourth round (120th overall) in 2018, the Blackhawks are hoping Kurashev can take that next step this year and showcase his talents after having three points (one goal, two assists) at last year's tournament.

Ian Mitchell, D — Canada

Mitchell had an unbelievable freshman season at Denver, where he recorded 30 points in 41 games playing alongside current Blackhawks prospect Blake Hillman. And he's certainly elevated his game to another level as "The Guy" on the back end, leading all Denver blue liners with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 14 games; both of his goals have been game-winners.

This will be Mitchell's first year participating at the Under-20 World Juniors, but he's grown into a leader on and off the ice and is one of three alternate captains for Canada.

Mitchell was drafted in the second round (57th overall) in 2017, and could sign an entry-level deal with the Blackhawks after this season ends.

Former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig announces retirement


Former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig announces retirement

A former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion has decided to hang up the skates.

Brandon Bollig officially announced his retirement in an Instagram post after five seasons in the NHL, three of which came in Chicago.

"Thank you to the game of Ice Hockey for the wonderful experience, countless memories and valuable lessons," Bollig wrote. "You’ve made me the person I am today and I’ll be forever grateful. I have officially retired."

Bollig signed with the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in 2010, but didn't make his team debut until the 2011-12 campaign. In three seasons in Chicago, he accumulated 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 125 games and 201 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 24 playoff contests, where he recorded a goal and an assist, and was a part of the 2013 championship-winning team.

Bollig was traded for a third-round pick in the summer of 2014 to the Calgary Flames, where he spent his final two seasons in the league. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks for the 2017-18 season, but never received a call-up and was later traded to the Nashville Predators organization.

Bollig was known for being an agitator and great teammate, sticking up for them on the ice whenever the chance presented itself. But he was also known for being a jokester.

So let's never forget the time he tried to imitate Patrick Kane's viral stickhandling video and send him off into the sunset by reliving it:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Blackhawks prospects Evan Barratt, Ian Mitchell nominated for Hobey Baker Award


Blackhawks prospects Evan Barratt, Ian Mitchell nominated for Hobey Baker Award

A pair of 2017 Blackhawks draft picks are up for college hockey's most prestigious honor.

Penn State forward Evan Barratt and Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell are among the 81 players nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which is annually given to the most outstanding player in Division-1 men's hockey.

Barratt, a third-round selection (No. 90 overall), is tied for second in the nation with 30 points and fourth with 13 goals through only 19 games. He appeared in seven games for Team USA during the 2019 World Juniors, where he scored a goal and ranked second on the team with 25 shots on goal.

Mitchell, a second-round selection (No. 57 overall), leads all Denver defensemen with 18 points and ranks fifth on the team with 0.83 points per game. Two of his three goals this season have been game-winners. Like Barratt, Mitchell also represented his country for the World Juniors. He had three points (one goal, three assists), a plus-6 rating and averaged 15:42 of ice time for Canada.

The Phase 1 fan voting period is officially open and will run through Sunday, March 10. The Top-10 finalists will be announced on March 20. From then until March 31, Phase II voting will be open to determine the Hobey Hat Trick, which will be announced on April 4. 

The winner will be revealed on April 12 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. Fans can cast their vote at .

Dylan Sikura was named one of 10 finalists last season, and was the first Blackhawks prospect to do so since Tyler Motte in 2016.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.