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Blackhawks' Landon Slaggert hopes to ‘make a name for myself' in Chicago

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In the last 72 hours, Landon Slaggert's senior season with Notre Dame came to an end, he signed an entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, and he flew to Chicago to join the team for Tuesday's morning skate.

To say it's been a whirlwind is an understatement.

"Bit of a whirlwind, to be honest," said Slaggert, who had a smile on his face for the entire eight-minute interview. "Emotional roller coaster finishing out my time at Notre Dame, a place that means so much to me, it's my home. Turning the page on that chapter of my life was tough but honestly just grateful for everything that place has given me. Left that in good standing and just happy to be here and ready to go and get to work.

"This is a day that you dream of as a little kid, so it's awesome to have it come true in a place like Chicago with an organization as historic as the Blackhawks. So definitely a dream come true. Played ministick growing up, playing mini stick in the basement, I was wearing the Hawks jerseys, and it's awesome to be wearing one today."

Slaggert, 21, had a career season at Notre Dame, where he scored 20 goals and led the team 31 points in 36 games. He also served as the captain.

Slaggert said he "found my love for the game again" this season after a disappointing junior year in which he racked up only 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 35 games.

"Just wasn't getting the puck luck like I normally do," Slaggert said. "I think it was a frustrating year offensively, but a necessary year to be honest, a year I learned a lot about myself. Just overcoming adversity and fighting through that. So I think it was a necessary year, a frustrating year, but definitely allowed me to have the year that I did this year."

Slaggert looked like a different player this season, and if there's one thing you'll notice about the 6-foot, 190-pound forward who can play wing or center, it's that he has a high motor and he's not afraid to go to the greasy areas.

"I'm hoping my compete can definitely be noticed by the guys but also by the organization," Slaggert said. "I think my speed and compete is something that I can bring to the table and hopefully shake things up in here."

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson is looking forward to getting Slaggert into a game. The tentative plan is for him to make his NHL debut on Friday vs. Los Angeles, although it's unclear where he'll slot into the lineup.

"An all-around game," Richardson said of what Slaggert brings to the table. "He’s that type of guy who you can put anywhere. He has some skill, he’s scored some goals this year and had a pretty good senior year. But he’s a responsible guy and kills some penalties and stuff.

"We’re not sure exactly where we’ll fit him in yet, but we’ll get him in a couple of practices this week and hopefully get him in right away and see what he can do there. Then we’ll get a little bit better feeling of his level."

Slaggert, who was drafted by Chicago in the third round in 2020, wants to make a strong first impression with the Blackhawks because "you only get one." He's also looking to prove that he can be part of the future.

"I'm excited to be doing it here and hopefully can make a name for myself and keep going," Slaggert said. "It's definitely awesome that having this group of guys in here and know that the management believes in me, so I'm excited to get to go, get to work.

"You get a little bit of a taste of it at development camp, meeting all the guys and seeing what the day-to-day process is of being a pro. You don't truly understand it until you get here, so it's cool to finally be in this position. 

"There's definitely a lot of hype, a lot of excitement around this organization and there should be, because there's a lot of good players coming up the ranks and a lot of good prospects. It's an exciting time to be a Hawks fan and it's only going to get better."

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