The Chicago Blackhawks are about to wrap up their 2023-24 NHL season. And they are giving fans some reason to watch their final few games. On Sunday, former first-round pick Frank Nazar made his NHL debut against the Carolina Hurricanes. He is the latest piece Chicago has put around rookie cornerstone Connor Bedard.

Nazar made an immediate impact in his first game. He scored the first goal of the contest on Sunday, giving the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, he didn't get to enjoy a win. The Hurricanes put three goals past Chicago's goaltender in the final period to win 4-2.

Nazar didn't let the loss put a damper on things after the game. “From being at the Frozen Four to flying in last night and then figuring out I was playing today was really crazy. I'm a little exhausted but it was a blast,” he said, via Blackhawks reporter Charlie Roumeliotis.

Frank Nazar scores first Blackhawks goal

Chicago Blackhawks forward Frank Nazar (91) controls the puck in the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at United Center.
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Nazar didn't pull off a nifty move or dirty dangle for his first NHL goal. Still, it's certainly going to be a memorable one. The Blackhawks rookie received a pass from star defenseman Seth Jones and raced down the middle of the ice. Soon enough, he picked his spot and slotted the puck into the back of the net.

Nazar said after the game he didn't have a laid-out plan on that play. “It was a nice play at the blue line,” Nazar told Roumeliotis, referring to the pass from Jones setting up the goal. “I was able to go in and I was kind of shooting for whatever was open.”

His goal put a bow on a crazy few days for the Blackhawks rookie. Nazar competed in the Frozen Four with the University of Michigan on Thursday. Michigan fell to Boston College right before the National Championship. Soon after, the 2022 first-round pick decided to turn pro and sign his entry-level contract with Chicago.

“Frank was really good,” Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said, via Roumeliotis, of Nazar's debut. “I really liked his game tonight. Really happy for him. … Unfortunately we didn’t get the win but definitely some bright spots there.”

Leaving Michigan

Every hockey prospect has to make a similar decision. Are they ready to turn pro and sign with the team that drafted them? Or should they remain in college or junior for one more year? Frank Nazar felt the decision was hard to make, but in the end, he is confident in the choice he went with.

“Me and my family had to put things together, pros and cons, and just look at what we needed to look at and it just all came down to what was best,” Nazar said, via Roumeliotis. “I know I made the right choice.”

Nazar was a force with the Wolverines this season. The former first-round pick scored 17 goals and 41 points with Michigan in 41 games. Furthermore, he represented Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championships this year. There, he won a Gold Medal while dishing out eight assists in seven games.

Frank Nazar has turned heads at every level this season. And now, he figures to earn a regular role in the NHL as soon as next season. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the young forward meshes with Connor Bedard on the Blackhawks moving forward.