Lineup Changes, Injury Updates, Edmonton Fans Want Toews, Korchinski's Good Start, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Lineup Changes, Injury Updates, Edmonton Fans Want Toews, Korchinski’s Good Start, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

You just have to love the mid-week home games that start an hour later than usual because of national television. Tonight’s game against the Oilers got the late draw on TNT, so we’ll have to keep the coffee brewing for an 8:30 start. Edzo will be in the house on the call, so it will be great to see him back at the United Center once again as well.

  • A couple nuggets from practice on Wednesday: the Blackhawks are apparently going to miss both Sam Lafferty (back) and Jarred Tinordi (hip) for another week or so. We’ll see if there are any call-ups before the team heads to NY/NJ for three games over the weekend against really good teams. The other significant piece of news is 19 and 88 are rolling out together tonight against Edmonton. This will be the first time this year Patrick Kane and Max Domi have been separated.
  • Earlier this season the hot rumor was Kane going to Edmonton. Now it appears there’s a portion of the fanbase that would prefer Jonathan Toews to join McJesus and Co. for the playoff run. But that won’t be any easier for the Oilers to make happen financially, and might make less sense overall (even if Toews would help them defensively (their biggest need)). I joined the crew at Oilers Nation yesterday to discuss the game tonight and might have thrown some water on their Toews dreams. You can watch their full episode here (I’m on for about 15 minutes starting around the 14-minute mark).
  • Kevin Korchinski, the defenseman the Blackhawks had to have when they were fielding trade offers for Alex DeBrincat before the 2022 NHL draft, is having a fantastic season for Seattle in the WHL. After putting up 65 points in 67 games last year, he has 24 points (3 goals, 21 assists) in 18 games to start his first post-draft season. Hockey Prospecting threw a player card out there on Tuesday that caught my eye. While some Blackhawks fans will go to a dark place when they see Cam Barker (once a third overall pick) mentioned, names like Alex Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Paul Coffey feel a helluva lot better.
  • In the battle between Colton Dach and Connor Bedard last night, the box score has a different name as the top-billing star. Regina won the game 6-5 in overtime on a power play goal with Dach in the box. Dach was held without a point in the game and Bedard was limited to one assist and five shots on net.
  • It was Bedard’s friend and former teammate, Andrew Cristall (also eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft) who stole the show. He four points (two goals and two assists) and was credited with eight shots on net. As you can see below, he scored the game-trying goal in the final minute of regulation. With the bright lights on, Cristall may have pushed himself into the top ten conversation for the coming draft with a tremendous performance last night.
  • In a minor roster move, the Blackhawks placed forward Jakub Pour on waivers to terminate his contract. Pour, 23, had eight points in 44 games with Rockford last year and has been with Indy in the ECHL this season. This is just another in a growing list of whiffs on European free agents by Stan Bowman, and another move by Kyle Davidson to clean up the mess he left behind.
  • If it feels like the Blackhawks have either come back from a deficit or blown a lead in way more games than usual, they aren’t alone. Roughly one of every eight games has a team winning despite being down entering the third period, which is a surprisingly high number.
  • In the “Let’s see how this plays out” category, the Dallas Stars signed center Roope Hintz to an eight-year extension on Tuesday. The deal carries an $8.5M AAV, which is a terrific deal for Hintz. It’s a fascinating deal for the Stars on a number of levels.
  • Hintz is a top-line, point-per-game center, so getting him locked-up at $8.5M is very good value for Dallas. He’s a stud, so it makes sense they would want him long-term. However, this past summer it took forever (like, into training camp) for the the Stars to get their best player, Jason Robertson, signed to an extension. Robertson is three years younger than Hintz and took a four-year deal at $7.75M. Math tells us Robertson — again, their best player and some have said he’s firmly in the MVP conversation right now — has a cap hit that’s now three-quarters of a million dollars less than Hintz. Sure, centers are “more valuable” but… yeah. Robertson’s their superstar. And the Stars weren’t able to get something done and had a full year to negotiate until it finally happened.
  • It’s also fascinating because the Stars now have almost $45M locked up in seven forwards already for next year (including Hintz). We don’t know (yet, officially) how much the NHL’s salary cap ceiling is going up for next season, but Dallas also has a shade over $22M locked up in six defensemen and $5M in goaltending already (per CapFriendly). The Hintz extension puts them at around $71M with at least five forwards still needed to sign (including Joe Pavelski) to fill out a roster. Also, keep in mind the Stars have been linked to Patrick Kane in some trade rumors already this season…
  • Finally, the White Sox lost their veteran heart and soul to the Houston Astros yesterday. Will the Cubs feel the same pain at the Winter Meetings next week? I can’t bring myself to buy an Astros hat, even if two of my favorite Chicago baseball guys become teammates in Houston.

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