Blackhawks Will Be Without Lafferty and Tinordi a While Longer

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Blackhawks Will Be Without Lafferty and Tinordi a While Longer

Chicago Blackhawks

After practice on Tuesday, Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson was asked to update the status of a couple players who’ve been important parts of his lineup this year. His answers weren’t great. It sounds like Sam Lafferty and Jarred Tinordi aren’t going to be available on Wednesday — and maybe a little longer.

Tinordi, 30, is averaging 17:30 per game this season after the Blackhawks acquired him off waivers from the Rangers just before the start of the regular season. The former first-round pick (22nd overall in 2010) leads the Blackhawks with 79 hits and ranks fourth on the roster with 31 blocked shots. His five points this season already tie his career high.

The Blackhawks’ crowded defense group has been thinned out by injuries this season; Seth Jones missed three weeks with a broken thumb earlier this month and now it appears Tinordi will be out for a bit. Tinordi missing from the lineup will give Filip Roos additional run on the blue line. The rookie is averaging just a few seconds under 17 minutes per game this season.

It’s possible the Blackhawks bring one of Alec Regula or Ian Mitchell back from Rockford to provide some depth before the team travels to New York (and New Jersey) for three games this weekend.

Lafferty, 27, was acquired from Pittsburgh last season for forward Alex Nylander — a move that is looking like one of general manager Kyle Davidson’s early wins on the trade market. After struggling to stick in the Penguins’ lineup for three years, Lafferty has emerged as a terrific third-line player in Chicago. He has 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in 65 games since joining the Blackhawks early last year and has been a key penalty killer for the Hawks.

When the Blackhawks were rolling well early in the season, their most effective line was Lafferty with Philipp Kurashev and Jason Dickinson. When Tyler Johnson left the lineup with an ankle sprain, that broke up the third line and pushed Kurashev into the top six. Tyler hasn’t returned yet; he skated before the team on Tuesday but didn’t look like he’s as close to being back in the lineup as he did a week ago.

With Kurashev elevated into the top six, the bottom six has been a revolving door. Dickinson has stuck at center, but Richardson had moved Lafferty into a fourth line center role recently with Jujhar Khaira moving up to a wing on the third line with Dickinson and Colin Blackwell.

The fourth line without Lafferty is now Boris Katchouk, MacKenzie Entwistle and Reese Johnson — a line that hasn’t created much/any offense. They have three combined points this season (one goal for Reese, two assists for Entwistle) while Katchouk hasn’t been able to crack ten minutes of ice time per game on average.

The Blackhawks currently have 12 healthy forwards on the NHL roster with Lafferty and Tyler Johnson on the shelf. We’ll see if Lafferty missing more games opens a door for Josiah Slavin, who has played center at the NHL level before, or Mike Hardman to provide some depth before the trip east. Slavin appeared in 15 games last season. Hardman has appeared in 29 games for the Blackhawks during his career.

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Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab