While our baseball counterparts await the trade deadline and the Bears’ beat is busy breaking down preseason plays, the puck lovers will continue waiting for hockey to happen. The World Juniors will give us a chance to watch meaningful hockey beginning next week. And the Blackhawks did us a favor on Monday morning with an official announcement.
- Monday morning the Blackhawks made a weekend rumor a reality. The organization announced the hiring of Derek Plante as the third assistant coach on Luke Richardson’s staff. He comes from the University of Minnesota-Duluth after two seasons; Plante previously served in the Blackhawks organization for five years.
- Richardson’s complete coaching staff now will include Plante, Derek King, Kevin Dean, Jimmy Waite and video coach Matt Meacham.
- Plante appeared in 17 games on the ice for the Blackhawks during the 1999-00 season. He was actually acquired from Dallas in the same trade that brought his new teammate behind the bench, Kevin Dean, to Chicago. The Blackhawks sent Sylvain Cote and Dave Manson to Dallas for Plante, Dean and a second-round pick in the 2001 draft (Matt Keith).
- The wonderfully versatile Jon Morosi jumped on NHL Network on Monday morning to discuss the pending roster decisions coming from USA Hockey in advance of the beginning of the 2021 (yes, still technically last year’s edition) of the World Junior Championship next week. Morosi mentions two Blackhawks prospects specifically in key spots for the US: forward Frank Nazar and defenseman Wyatt Kaiser.
- On Sunday evening, USA Hockey announced the roster at their evaluation camp has been trimmed to 27. Among those still in camp with hopes of representing the US are Blackhawks prospects Nazar, Landon Slaggert and Dominic James up front and Kaiser on the blue line. Forward Aidan Thompson and defenseman Connor Kelley didn’t make it through this round of cuts.
- Thompson probably would have made the US roster after having a terrific USA camp despite being a late invite. An injury suffered on Sunday will keep him off the roster, unfortunately. Thompson also showed incredibly well at the Blackhawks’ development camp earlier in July and might prove to be a steal from the 2022 draft class.
- We expect final roster decisions from both the United States and Canada in the next 48 hours; the WJC tournament begins next week. Michael Krutil was already announced on the final Czechia roster.
- The big name free agent on the market still is center Nazem Kadri, who played through injury to become a hero for the champion Avs this past season. It appears he may have a new home soon, but the Isles have some housecleaning to do to make space for not only Kadri but other deals they still need to get done.
- Finally, we’re more than okay passive-aggressively pushing the idea of a blockbuster trade involving a fan favorite off on another team in town while we still can. Are the Padres ready to make a deal with the Cubs?