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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Ben Pope

Blackhawks notes: Jakub Galvas ‘still believing’ that NHL chance will come

Blackhawks prospect Jakub Galvas has worked on his defensive game this season in Rockford. (Brad Repplinger/Rockford IceHogs)

Blackhawks prospect Jakub Galvas used to call himself an offensive defenseman. Now, at the Hawks’ urging, he calls himself a defensive defenseman.

The undersized 23-year-old — listed at 5-11 and 161 pounds — always has faced an uphill road to the NHL. Even after impressing in a six-game NHL stint last winter, he still does. If he can complete the transition to defensive defenseman, the road might not be quite as steep.

‘‘I got a lot of feedback from the coaches last season,’’ Galvas said. ‘‘I want to play a lot, so I have to listen. It is what it is. But I like it. . . . I’m more responsible. I’m not jumping every time if I see my ‘D’ partner might go to support our offense. I just have it in my mind: defense first.’’

Points still are flowing in for Galvas; in fact, they’re flowing at an even faster rate than before. He has 17 points in 32 games this season at Rockford, compared with 20 in 59 last season. He’s tied for 13th among AHL defensemen with 16 assists.

Still, he’s focused exclusively on defensive improvement. He tries not to leave the slot in his own end, and he pays closer attention to opposing forwards’ movements. His skating is his best attribute — at his size, it needs to be — and he’s working on intricate techniques to improve it even more.

‘‘His skating abilities are going to be his bread-and-butter defending,’’ Rockford coach Anders Sorensen said. ‘‘He’s smooth.’’

Galvas’ biggest problem might be the surplus of other talented defensemen in the Hawks’ prospect pipeline. Isaak Phillips, Ian Mitchell and Filip Roos have played NHL games this season, and Rockford teammates Alec Regula and Alex Vlasic are also ahead of Galvas in the pecking order.

He’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after this season, and his future — while bright — is not quite clear.

‘‘I’m still believing,’’ Galvas said. ‘‘It’s tough to see that other guys were already called up. . . . It’s hard to not think about that. But I have to just focus on myself, and maybe something can be changed soon.’’

Good news on Dach

The shoulder injury that forward prospect Colton Dach suffered during the world junior championships wasn’t as bad as it looked. It won’t require surgery, and he will return this season — maybe in the next month or two.

Meanwhile, Dach was traded Saturday within the Western Hockey League from Kelowna to Seattle, where fellow Hawks prospects Kevin Korchinski and Nolan Allan also play. The Thunderbirds are 28-5-2 and only should get better with Dach, who has 17 points in 14 games this season.

‘‘It wasn’t something [where] we went in and said, ‘Hey, let’s just target Chicago prospects,’ ’’ Thunderbirds general manager Bil La Forge said. ‘‘But having a comfort level with the organization makes it a little bit easier. It’s a happy coincidence.’’

Kane sits again

Patrick Kane missed a second consecutive game Sunday because of a lower-body injury and will undergo treatment this week, coach Luke Richardson said.

He seems on track to play Thursday against the Avalanche.

‘‘It’s going to be the wear-and-tear and banging of the game we’re concerned [about],’’ Richardson said. ‘‘If it catches the wrong way, like it did a few nights ago, then . . . we’re without a forward and he’s probably going downward in progression. A couple of more days this week is really going to make a difference.’’

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