Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel is headed to Switzerland to get his season started. The team announced that they have loaned the young winger to HC Thurgau of the Swiss NLB, the country’s second-tier league. Hagel will be recalled for NHL training camp, where he will look to earn a spot with Chicago.
Hagel, 22, made his Blackhawks debut this season as a first-year pro. However, he appeared in just the one game versus 59 games with the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. Yet, Hagel’s decent production in the minors last year combined with his 100+ point season in the WHL the year before makes him an exciting possibility to crack the NHL roster. Getting a head start in Switzerland will only help his odds of making the opening night roster.
In Thurgau, Hagel will be one of just six players without Swiss citizenship and the only one with NHL experience. He should play a major role for the team and against NLB competition he could produce at a high rate. Regardless of the quality of play, Hagel will simply benefit from playing big minutes in a key offensive role.