Rockford IceHogs | FEATURE: Unlimited Upside: Year Two for Big Lou
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FEATURE: Unlimited Upside: Year Two for Big Lou

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Big defenseman Louis Crevier is in his second season with the IceHogs after appearing in 62 games with the club during his rookie campaign. The former seventh-round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks is still developing his skills at the AHL level and is eager to learn and grow in his sophomore professional season. At 6-foot-8, he has the natural ability to create offensive headaches for opponents. Entering year two, Crevier is ready to take the next step in his development.

“Personally, the training camp went really well for me,” stated Crevier. “Just knowing the people here has made a big difference for me to have more confidence, and just I’m just more relaxed on the ice and off the ice. It’s been more enjoyable for me.”

Before IceHogs training camp, Crevier skated with other Blackhawks prospects in the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through three days of practice and two gamedays, Crevier was the oldest player of the group and was anointed as the squad’s captain for one of the showcase games.

“That was cool. I can’t remember the last time I had a ‘C’ on, but you know, I’m not the guy who is going to talk much in the locker room or anything,” said Crevier before he joked, “And I know I’m the last guy who had a ‘C’ for the Blackhawks.”

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The defenseman ended up scoring a goal in one of the games for the Blackhawks prospects, and he also found the back of the net in a Chicago preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 1. While the goals came before the regular season, they were still impactful to Crevier who is still looking for his first regular season professional tally.

“Last year I had so many scoring chances,” Crevier lamented. “Not seeing the puck go in the goal was kind of hard at times, especially on a longer season.”

Last season in Rockford, he posted five assists but failed to find the back of the net in his rookie campaign. The towering defenseman has never projected to be an offensive dynamo, but he still managed to bury 10 scores in his last season of junior hockey with the Quebec Ramparts in the QMJHL.

“Even though it was preseason for me, [the preseason goal] was good reminder that ‘hey, you can shoot the puck.’”

Along with the lack of offense, last season for the Quebec City native had its difficult moments. For starters, it was the first time that he remained outside of the Quebec province for anything longer than a few days.

“My first few weeks I had my parents here with me. It was the first time we were in the U.S. for an extended period of time,” remembered Crevier before laughing and adding, “They just went to check all the grocery stores and see which one was best for me.”

In addition to dealing with the culture change, the 6-foot-8 blueliner also stepped into a Blackhawks prospect pipeline that was flush with talent at his position. Names like Ian Mitchell, Alex Vlasic, Isaak Phillips, Filip Roos, and others were all ahead of Crevier in the call-up queue to reach the NHL. Despite this, Crevier was able to not only crack the IceHogs’ opening night lineup but stay the lineup for 62 out of 72 games in the regular season.

“One thing I learned last year is that the beginning of the year and the end of the year is going to be when there’s a lot of players,” he reflected. “There aren’t as many injuries or call-ups...It’s hard to make your place if you’re a new guy, even this year we have so many guys here. But yeah, it was good for my confidence to play regularly.”

In an IceHogs defense core that’s crowded with many of the players mentioned above along with Blackhawks draft picks like Nolan Allan and Ethan Del Mastro, it would be easy to compare situations and envy the opportunities of others. Crevier, however, has his eyes trained on his own road ahead.

“I want to prove that I can take the next step. That’s a big thing for me. Especially for defensemen, I think it’s a longer journey to get there sometimes,” said Crevier. “We all have a different journey. I don’t have the same journey as [Vlasic] or any of those guys.”

It’s Crevier’s second year of working with Assistant Coach Jared Nightingale, a former IceHogs defenseman who, like Crevier, was always more defensive-minded. The 22-year-old transitioned to a more technical dialogue when discussing his work with Nightingale entering year two of the pair’s relationship.

“The thing he’s changed a lot for me is my posture on the ice. Let’s say in juniors I was leaning a little bit more, doing a ‘Hal Gill’ almost…I still do it sometimes, but I’d say he wants me to more upright and stand tall with two hands on my stick.”

Crevier receives specialized training on an almost daily basis from the IceHogs’ coaching staff and from Chicago’s development staff, but his coaching in the QMJHL provided valuable insight as well, especially when he played with the Ramparts. In 2021-22, Crevier and his club skated under the tutelage of Patrick Roy, the Hall of Fame goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche.

“The first few weeks you saw him as the goaltender and the legend, but after a couple of practices, you just see him as your coach,” remembered Crevier. After the awe settled in, it was down to business. “One thing that impressed me was that even though he was a great hockey player, and he has a great career as a coach, he was always willing to learn. He was always asking for our thoughts.”

Even though it’s only his second professional season, Crevier is a long way from junior hockey. He signed his NHL entry-level contract with the Blackhawks two years ago in November of 2021, and since then the defenseman has risen from an interesting gamble by the Hawks to an increasingly reliable player in his own end. For Crevier, his frame and build give him unlimited upside, but his attention to detail, focus on his own journey, and ability to learn the pro game will determine if he can reach that potential. His ceiling might be even taller than he is.