After spending three years as a star for one of the top college hockey programs in the country, a standout from Fairfield County is hoping to make an impact on the NHL.
Considered a top prospect when he was drafted 45th overall in 2016, Ridgefield’s Chad Krys is entering the summer having signed his contract with the Chicago Blackhawks and then making his pro debut in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs.
“Chad Krys was a defenseman we’ve been talking about for a while and you look at his profile between last year and this year and he’s got a lot of special skills,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said after drafting him in 2016.
“I think he plays sort of a modern game. He’s got mobility, can do a little bit of everything, and we think he’s got a lot of great years ahead of him. He’s going to a great program, Boston University. They’ve had a strong team the last couple of years and their coaching staff really knows how to develop players, so we certainly like the path he’s on.”
In his first nine games with the IceHogs, Krys totaled four points, including a two-assist game in March against the Chicago Wolves. He managed just a -4 goal differential, but took 15 shots and had eight penalty minutes in his brief AHL stint.
“It's exciting for me to get started. I ended my career at BU and I’m excited to jump in and help the team. It’s intense, but that’s why we play the game. Anything they ask of me, I’ll do.”
When asked by reporters earlier this year, Krys said that, “I think I bring a little bit of offense from the defense, can play some minutes, play up and down the ice, and use my strengths, my feet, play the power play, and I’m a sponge right now, just trying to learn.”
Krys was the youngest member of the bronze medal winning Team USA U20 squad at the 2016 World Championships and was an assistant captain on the bronze medal-winning U18 World Championships. He won gold at the U18 Championship in 2015 and tied for the tournament lead in assists at the 2014-15 World U17 Hockey Challenge. He was also chosen to participate int he 2016 U.S. National Junior Team Development Camp.
Despite being the “new kid on the block,” the Ridgefield native said that his more experienced teammates have been welcoming of him.
“The guys have been awesome. I was a little worried about that coming in, especially this late in the season,” he said earlier this year.”The guys have been awesome, the staff as well. Made me feel really comfortable as the day went on.
“I wanted to get out here and get some experience, get to know the organization a little better, the players, the staff and get a familiarity with how they want me to play so I think it’ll be big for me to get some experience and then heading into the summer and going into training camp.”
While at Boston University in the Hockey East, the 6-foot defenseman played 105 games over three years, netting 20 goals, 38 assists (58 points), and took 235 shots. His goal differential was +5 after a down junior year, though he scored nine power play goals in his career and was credited with six game winners.
Krys was also named the Hockey East co-Player of the Week on March 4 after becoming the first BU defenseman in 47 years to record two goals and three assists in one game.
“There are a lot of big games in Hockey East - and every team is good,” he said about his preparation. “There are no off nights in Hockey East, especially with our schedule. We play a lot of big games and big tournaments so there’s been a lot of big events so it helps you get ready for something like this.”
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