Blackhawks Place Brett Connolly on Waivers, Wyatt Kalynuk Could Miss "Weeks" with Ankle Injury

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Blackhawks Place Brett Connolly on Waivers, Wyatt Kalynuk Could Miss “Weeks” with Ankle Injury

Chicago Blackhawks

Following a 6-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks may have had their picture of NHL players trying to make the opening night roster become a bit more clear. With a performance like MacKenzie Entwistle’s on Monday, the hierarchy of those bubble forwards may have changed for the Blackhawks. We saw some evidence of it on Tuesday afternoon as the club placed veteran forward Brett Connolly on waivers.

Connolly came to the Blackhawks from the Florida Panthers as part of the five-player deal that also landed Henrik Borgström and Riley Stillman in Chicago. Connolly is entering year three of a four-year contract he signed with the Panthers in the summer of 2019 following a 2018-19 campaign with the Washington Capitals that saw him score a career-high 22 goals and 46 points. Over the past two seasons since then, Connolly has played in 100 NHL games with the Panthers and Blackhawks and has tallied 22 goals and 39 points. He had three goals and six points in 31 games during the 2020-21 season.

Coming with a cap hit of $3.5M AAV, Connolly is not a player that really fits the direction the Blackhawks are going with their middle and bottom-six forwards. He’ll likely clear waivers given his cap hit and production rate, and will be with the Rockford IceHogs, having $1.125M taken off his cap hit in the AHL.

News also coming out of today’s training camp session with the Blackhawks’ “A” group was the loss of second-year defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk due to an apparent ankle injury. Following practice, Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said that Kalynuk could end up missing “weeks” due to his injury.

It’s a tough blow for the Blackhawks and for Kalynuk, who was fighting for one of the final defensive spots in the Blackhawks lineup. After playing three NCAA seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers, Kalynuk signed as a free agent with the Blackhawks prior to last season and split time in his rookie season between the AHL and NHL. In 21 NHL games with the Blackhawks last season, Kalynuk scored four goals and nine points as a rookie. He also skated in eight AHL games with the IceHogs, tallying tow goals and ten points.

The Blackhawks also assigned goaltender Arvid Söderblom to the Rockford IceHogs, cutting the Blackhawks training camp roster to 45 players, likely soon to be 44 with the Connolly move to waivers.

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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