Colin Blackwell should, by all accounts, begin the year in Milwaukee as the first line center. In limited AHL time last season due to injury and NHL call-ups, Blackwell had 14 goals—seven of which were on the power play. One would hope that the ability to score with the man advantage would lead to some opportunities in Nashville, but the center only played six games in Nashville, with a total of only 57 minutes on the ice.
The Report Card
Blackwell is a good skater who didn’t appear to be in over his head in his limited minutes. He only took nine shots—five were on goal—but had decent rates per 60 minutes. He only took one penalty, and reviewing the games he played in, he was able to avoid making any costly errors: exactly what you want a bottom-line replacement player to do. His on-ice shot differentials were solid too, averaging about 20 more shots per 60 minutes than the opponents while Blackwell was in the game—most of those shots came in four games alongside Rocco Grimaldi and Frederick Gaudreau.
Blackwell couldn’t find the back of the net, and not a single goal was scored by the Predators while he was on the ice. He took a handful of faceoffs against pretty low competition and managed only a 50% success rate. Blackwell’s first two games with Nashville were alongside Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith, so one would assume that’s when he did his best work. However, this wasn’t the case, as the trio were outshot and outscored in the two-game stretch.
There was little to no footage on Youtube of Blackwell, and when I went back and watched the games he was in, really nothing at all stood out. So here’s a really nice move he made with the Ads to score on Chicago.
I think the worst moment was actually on me: taking the time to watch snippets of six games looking for highlight reel material, and instead finding just decent, scoreless hockey.
Blackwell plays center in the Nashville pipeline, and finally Nashville appears loaded at the position. They’ll start the season with Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino, with Sissons playing the position when needed, and Rem Pitlick champing at the bit to find NHL minutes (which he should, as we have mentioned quite a few times). Blackwell is an older prospect and we should see some limited time in callups, but unless the injury bug strikes, I don’t see much room for him in significant time.
C- Really the very definition of “OK”. He filled in, didn’t mess up but didn’t impress either. I imagine the majority of his impact will be felt in Milwaukee next season.
How would you grade Colin Blackwell’s season?
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