Blackhawks goalie Drew Commesso draws from Jeremy Swayman, Andrei Vasilevskiy as he turns pro

Commesso worked out all summer in Boston with Swayman, whose steady stance and lower hands he incorporated into his own goaltending style. He also adopted Vasilevskiy’s yoga- and stretching-focused training regimen.

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Blackhawks goalie prospect Drew Commesso tends the crease.

Drew Commesso will play for Rockford this season after three years at Boston University.

Kyle Prudhomme/BU Athletics

As he prepared for his first AHL season after three years in college, Blackhawks goalie prospect Drew Commesso decided the best way to learn how to be a pro was to learn from other pros.

As Team USA’s reserve goalie at the world championships in May, Commesso practiced with then-Penguins, now-Canucks goalie Casey DeSmith and ex-Kings, now-Flyers goalie Cal Petersen.

Then Commesso researched, studied and adopted Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s offseason training program, taking up yoga as a result.

And then Commesso spent much of the summer working out in Boston with a group of NHL players, including Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman, who became a day-to-day mentor.

In Swayman (who ranked fifth in the NHL with a .920 save percentage last season) and Vasilevskiy (a five-time All-Star and the 2018-19 Vezina Trophy winner), he couldn’t have picked two better models.

“The big thing I took away from both of them is their compete [level] and athleticism,” Commesso said. “Getting to practice with Jeremy all summer and seeing how much he competes, it really helped me translate it into practice, and hopefully it’ll translate into games this year. With both of them, I try to be like a sponge and soak in all the information I can that would make me better.”

At Boston University, Commesso’s results were remarkably steady — he finished with .915, .914 and .913 save percentages his three seasons there — but didn’t really improve. He did deal with a bout of mononucleosis last winter that cost him weight and energy.

The Hawks remain optimistic about the future that awaits their 2020 second-round pick — he was the second goalie taken in the draft — but the external buzz and excitement have subsided somewhat, partially because of Arvid Soderblom’s emergence. It’ll be up to Commesso, 21, to boost his stock again this season.

Commesso’s determination and inventiveness will give him a good chance, though. Last season, his new thing was using a virtual-reality app for goalies for extra off-ice practice. Now he has some more new things.

He observed the steadiness of Swayman’s stance and how he kept his hands (his glove and blocker) lower in that stance than he did. So he increased his diet to put on more weight, focused on translating that weight gain into greater muscle strength in his legs and thighs — enabling him to keep his stance more stable — and lowered his own hands, as well.

Before those sessions with Swayman, however, he would wake up at 5:30 a.m. to stretch and attend a 90-minute power yoga class, just as Vasilevskiy apparently does. Later, he would meditate and stretch again before bed.

The stretching will help with hip mobility, and he said Vasilevskiy is “off the charts” in that regard. Yoga will help with flexibility and breath control.

“Goaltending is so mental, it’s so important to keep a steady mind, and breathing really helps you do that,” he said. “There are times when you want to get your heart rate up, so [during] the breath work I do in yoga, we actually focus on breathing really fast. We’ll suck in air fast and breathe out fast.

“We’ll do that for a good amount of time, and then we’ll do our yoga session. At the end, we really focus on holding our breath and keeping our muscles still.”

It will take time for Commesso to adjust to the pro level and find out the impact these summer changes will have, but the early results are encouraging. He was flawless in a 5-0 victory against the Blues in Saturday’s prospect showcase.

“I felt way stronger and way faster,” he said. “Beating the plays and getting ahead of it . . . helped me a lot. I feel like I was able to hold my edges with those stronger legs.”

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