A final look at the Blackhawks active roster and taxi squad and an update to the IceHogs preliminary lineup. And at long last, the season starts tonight!
(The following updates are from Ben Pope's article yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times
According to team president and general manager Stan Bowman, Brent Seabrook is confirmed to be out with an injury that is unrelated to his multiple surgeries from 2020.
Seabrook's timetable to get back on the ice is still not known. Regardless of whether he returns sooner or later, the likelihood that he is a starter upon his return is low.
Carl Soderberg is finally in Chicago now and has begun his mandatory quarantine. He will join his teammates once they return from the opening 4-game road trip.
Alex Nylander was officially placed on LTIR as he starts rehab after his knee surgery. It is assumed Kirby Dach will follow suit as he heals from his wrist injury.
Zack Smith is surprisingly not healthy again and was placed on IR after clearing waivers at the start of camp. Despite clearing, his status was unknown until now.
Lastly, it is still unreported what specifically is ailing Jonathan Toews and unclear how long he will be out. Perhaps there will be more clarity with the season starting today?
Additional AHL assignments:
John Quenneville, Anton Lindholm, Nick Seeler, and Matt Tomkins were placed on waivers on Monday. All of them cleared yesterday and were subsequently assigned to Rockford.
Now with player personnel decisions made, the final active roster and taxi squad are almost set to start the new season with a few necessary tweaks (more below).
* Ryan Carpenter
* Alex DeBrincat
* Matthew Highmore
* Mattias Janmark
* David Kampf
* Patrick Kane
* Dominik Kubalik
* Philipp Kurashev
* Brandon Pirri
* Andrew Shaw
* Dylan Strome
* Pius Suter
* Lucas Wallmark
* Nicolas Beaudin
* Adam Boqvist
* Lucas Carlsson
* Calvin de Haan
* Duncan Keith
* Ian Mitchell
* Connor Murphy
* Nikita Zadorov
* Malcolm Subban
* Collin Delia or Kevin Lankinen
Taxi Squad (3):
* Brandon Hagel
* Wyatt Kalynuk
* Collin Delia or Kevin Lankinen
On the Way:
* Brent Seabrook
* Carl Soderberg
* Jonathan Toews (possibly LTIR)
* Zack Smith (confirmed)
* Kirby Dach (expected)
* Alex Nylander (confirmed)
Although the actual roster and taxi squad will be known later today, this forecast has one reserve forward and a pair of blueliners instead of vice versa.
Kurashev makes the cut over Hagel given that he plays center but can move over to wing if needed. However, Hagel would be next in line if the team opts for an extra reserve forward.
Beaudin and Carlsson are the reserve defensemen due to their steady growth, balanced play in all zones, and experience at the pro level. Kalynuk is on the cusp, though.
It is important to note that each team needs to have 4-6 players on the taxi squad and the above scenario only lists 3 players. One more player is needed to meet the requirement.
At least one -- and up to 3 -- of the 14 players who were recently assigned to Rockford will need to be recalled to be on the taxi squad to meet the minimum and maximum quotas.
* Reese Johnson
* John Quenneville
* Chad Krys
* Anton Lindholm
* Nick Seeler
The Hogs need more defensemen to bolster team depth so it's best that Krys, Lindholm, and Seeler stay in Rockford. That would make Johnson and Quenneville as the top options.
And of course, the roster calculus will change once Soderberg and Seabrook are eligible to play. At least one is a forward and the other is a rearguard.
Yet, Soderberg is a given to be a starter whereas Seabrook isn't even though he has seniority. Seabrook would be a reserve D-man unless the young defenders impress early.
Revised Rockford Roster
With the camp cuts and the aforementioned players clearing waivers, the Hogs lineup starts to come into focus even more. Here is a revised look at the preliminary roster:
Quenneville - Entwistle - Altybarmakian
Teply - B Morrison - C Morrison
Soderlund - Johnson - Barratt
Chalupa - Hakkarainen - Yetman
Spare forwards (on AHL contracts)
LW: Garrett Mitchell, Mitch Fossier, Riley McKay
C: Dylan McLaughlin, Mathew Thompson
RW: D.J. Busdeker, Gabriel Gagne, Chris Wilkie
Krys - Franson
Seeler - Regula
Lindholm - Ryczek
Eyeballing the Rockford roster, there is a vast surplus of forwards when taking into account those on AHL contracts which includes 2020 draft pick Chad Yetman.
Where the Hogs need more numbers is on the blueline. Jake Ryczek couldn't even make the Indy Fuel roster so logic would have it that he can't cut it in the AHL either.
Dmitry Osipov is a great team player and fan favorite but he is a career minor leaguer. The same could possibly be said, too, about Cody Franson, Lindholm, and Seeler.
With that in mind, it may not be out of the question for the Hogs to sign NHL veterans looking to play and wouldn't mind doing so in the AHL to get their foot in the door.
Or the Hogs could seek NCAA free agents or pro players who are seeking a D corps to join and jump start their careers, even if they are just AHL depth.
Another option is slotting D.J. Busdeker on the back end even though he is mainly a forward. He played both with the Saginaw Spirit and did quite well as a D-man by all accounts.
Busdeker has been playing for the Fuel and has 2 goals and 2 assists so far in 7 games playing RW. Playing LW, Riley McKay is also at Indy but has zero points in 5 games.
Oh yeah, there's a game tonight, isn't there?
Let's light this candle!
Game 1, January 13
Blackhawks @ Lightning
Blackhawks, 0-0-0, 0 Pts
Lightning, 0-0-0, 0 Pts
Lots of goose eggs laid there. And let's hope that's not the final score unless it's the Bolts doing the laying.
There is definite excitement to see what the youth has to offer not just in this first game but also all season.
Tonight is also the start of the journey chartered by a professed team identity predicated on work ethic and competitiveness.
Probable lineup for Tampa Bay:
Colliton's Contract Extension
Finally, yesterday wasn't just player news for the Blackhawks as the team announced a 2-year contract extension for head coach Jeremy Colliton. He is on the last leg of a 3-year contract.
The proof will be in the pudding over the next few seasons to see if he can put his money where his mouth is as far as developing youth and rebuilding a contender.
See you on the boards!