Blackhawks Youngsters Hope To Bring Chemistry to NHL Lineup

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Blackhawks Youngsters Hope To Bring Rockford Chemistry to NHL Lineup

Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said he felt it was important for the team to spend some time getting to know each other after their loss in Arizona earlier this week. With important players like Patrick Kane, Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty and Jack Johnson moving on, it’s been tough. Richardson has spoken frequently about the camaraderie in the room this season, but that’s been put to the test in the past couple weeks.

The Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars on Thursday night and many of us will need a roster sheet to keep track of who’s playing where. Lukas Reichel was called up before the morning skate and will jump onto the top line with Max Domi and Philipp Kurashev. He’ll be one of three AHL All-Stars in the Blackhawks’ lineup in this final game before the trade deadline, something that might benefit the Chicago roster.

Cole Guttman, who will center the second line, has been able to get into the flow pretty well since his call-up. David Gust, who was placed on waivers by the Blackhawks on Wednesday, will play wing on the third line. And Brett Seney will bump down to the fourth line. Reichel, Gust and Seney represented the IceHogs in the AHL All-Star event this season.

Guttman said after the morning skate that it’s nice having some guys with whom he started his pro career in Rockford in the room. Having some chemistry from their time with the IceHogs could benefit the Blackhawks as they’ve seen a significant amount of turnover over the past couple weeks.

Similarly, Reichel knows this opportunity is a unique one. His first call-up this season was at the last minute to replace a sick Jonathan Toews in New Jersey. His second was to work in a lineup that was without an injured Kane. This time, Kane is fully gone and Toews is missing from the lineup as he deals with his health.

But he also acknowledged that having some other guys from Rockford in the room is good.

Reichel was asked about what he learned from Kane during their brief time together during training camps and his call-ups over the past few seasons. He again noted that Kane’s awareness on the ice is unparalleled, and his work ethic was something that stood out. But replacing him on the top line isn’t the expectations we should be putting on the young German forward.

The Blackhawks’ lineup is probably going to be a work in progress for a few games as new faces are integrated into the NHL lineup. Gust was placed on waivers so he can eventually go back to Rockford; Richardson said both Reese Johnson (who is in concussion protocol but skated Thursday morning) and MacKenzie Entwistle are close to returning. When they’re able to come back, there will be more roster decisions.

Newly acquired Joey Anderson will be a healthy scratch against Dallas.

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