Down on the Farm Report: Celebrating 1,000 AHL Games, Carlsson and Pirri Head to Rockford, Teply's Return, More

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Down on the Farm Report: Celebrating 1,000 AHL Games, Carlsson and Pirri Head to Rockford, Teply’s Return, More

Chicago Blackhawks

The Rockford IceHogs are celebrating their 1,000th AHL game tonight, taking on the Grand Rapids Griffins at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. Unfortunately, 2021 hasn’t been a season filled with much celebration, as the IceHogs have started things off with a 1-6-1 record through their first eight games.

Despite plenty of promise coming into the NHL’s training camp session in January, the IceHogs had a plethora of talent plucked from them due to early injuries to the Chicago Blackhawks and the new Taxi Squad system this season. So head coach Derek King is working with the cards he’s been dealt, and just like every other AHL club this year, they are facing new challenges every day.

That said, it would be a breath of fresh air to get the win in game No. 1,000 (Rockford’s only win this season came at home against the Cleveland Monsters).

Tonight’s game also marks the beginning of a four-game homestand, bookended by games against the Griffins (tonight and next Thursday March, 11th), with two tilts agains the Iowa Wild over the weekend.

Fortunately, Rockford will benefit by some players returning from the Blackhawks.

On Wednesday morning, the big league team sent defenseman Lucas Carlsson and forward Brandon Pirri to the IceHogs. This followed roster moves last Friday that saw goaltender Collin Delia, defensemen Wyatt Kalynuk and Nicolas Beaudin, and forward Reese Johnson head to the AHL, with Mikael Hakkarainen, Brad Morrison, and Matt Tomkins move to the Chicago Taxi Squad.

It was notable to see players like Beaudin and Delia come down over the weekend.

Beaudin was playing very well in his time with the Blackhawks, but with the returns of Adam Boqvist and Connor Murphy from injury and the COVID Protocol list, Beaudin was the odd-man out and was sent to the IceHogs to stay fresh and in game-shape.

Delia, meanwhile, had not played since the third game of the season for the Blackhawks.

He was sent to Rockford on a conditioning assignment, meaning he could avoid having to go through waivers to be sent down, so as long as he is recalled after 14 days. Delia made his season debut with the IceHogs right away in his first game with the club, making 24 saves on 30 shots faced against the Cleveland Monsters in a forgettable 6-3 loss.

Along with the reinforcements from the Blackhawks, the IceHogs should get rookie forward Michal Teply back in the lineup soon. Teply has played in only one game this season, all the way back on February 6 against the Chicago Wolves, when he had two shots on goal in the 5-4 loss.

In news away from the ice, the Blackhawks are reportedly set to purchase the IceHogs from the city of Rockford.

The IceHogs have been the AHL affiliate of the Blackhawks since the 2007-08 season, but have been independently owned and operated during that time. The Blackhawks are one of the few NHL teams in the league that do not have ownership over their minor league affiliate. Chicago plans to have $20 million put into upgrades and renovations to the BMO Harris Bank Center as part of the purchase, ensuring that they do not plan to move the IceHogs out of Rockford, but rather invest in the market.

In NCAA prospects news, Notre Dame’s Landon Slaggert has been on a tear recently. In his last eight games, Slaggert has 11 points and had a four-game point streak going. He was named the National Rookie of the Month of February by the Hockey Commissioners Association.

In 22 games this season, Slaggert has seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points with Notre Dame. The Irish are unranked this season at 12-12-2, sitting fourth in the Big Ten.

In overseas prospect news, goalie prospect Ivan Nalimov has had his contract terminated by Dinamo Riga in the KHL earlier this week and is expected to head to the U.S. He had a 2-11-0 record with a .877 save percentage and a 3.58 GAA with Dinamo Riga this season.

Nalimov’s right are still held by the Blackhawks and he would likely join the IceHogs if he is returning to play in North America.

He signed a PTO last season with the IceHogs, but shortly after had to return to Russia due to the pandemic.

Nalimov, who turns 27 years old in less than two weeks, has played on eight teams in his eight-year KHL career after being drafted by the Blackhawks in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He has a career KHL record of 60-73-14, with a .910 save percentage and a 2.63 GAA.

Staying overseas in the DEL, 2020 first-round drat pick Lukas Reichel is having a hell of a season.

Reichel is regularly playing top-six minutes with Eisbären Berlin, and is tied for fourth on the team in points (17). Last season, Reichel finished with 24 points in 42 games and is on pace this season to finish with 32 points through 38 games played.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.