Rockford Reinforcements, An Eye on the Kaiser, College Tournaments Continue, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
First, a quick update on the Blackhawks’ roster situation. The team is back in Chicago to host the league-leading Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, and may be getting some of their NHL regulars back. On Sunday, the Blackhawks assigned forward Luke Philp, defenseman Filip Roos, and goaltender Anton Khudobin to the Rockford IceHogs. Connor Murphy was at home dealing with a personal matter and Anders Bjork got banged up in the game against Florida. Murphy was on the ice at practice on Monday morning.
- The Blackhawks started their Monday with two forwards joining the NHL club: Mike Hardman and Buddy Robinson. Hardman, 24, appeared in 21 games with the Blackhawks last season. Robinson, 31, signed with Chicago last summer and appeared in one game with the Blackhawks earlier this year. The good news: they’re both forwards, so hopefully that means Murphy and Stalock are good to go.
- Of course Khudobin might have to come back to Chicago if this apparent injury suffered by Petr Mrazek at practice on Monday is serious.
- Minnesota-Duluth was eliminated from the NCHC playoffs on Sunday afternoon. Blackhawks prospects Wyatt Kaiser and Dominic James had the assists on the Bulldogs’ only goal in their season finale; the NCAA playoffs aren’t in the cards for UMD this season. So now we’ll wait to see if the Blackhawks extend a contract offer to either of them, but more specifically Kaiser who is coming off a strong junior season.
- Kaiser, a third-round pick (No. 81) by the Blackhawks in the 2020 NHL Draft, had five goals and 18 assists for 23 points — all career highs — in 35 games this season. The Blackhawks love his development; he performed well for the US at the August edition of the World Juniors as well.
- The NCHC’s final four are set for the Frozen Faceoff beginning on Friday. Top-seeded Denver and Aidan Thompson advanced, as did goaltender Dominic Basse and St. Cloud State (at the expense of UMD).
- The Big Ten conference championship game is on Saturday. Frank Nazar and Michigan will face the top seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota’s been a wagon all season, putting together one of the strongest campaigns in Big Ten conference history.
- ICYMI the Boston Bruins clinched a playoff berth on Saturday, making them the first team to do so in the NHL. They’re at the United Center on Tuesday night, a tough test for the Blackhawks. Here’s where Chicago sits in the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes standings starting the new work week.
- Flint Firebirds forward Gavin Hayes has been en fuego since the start of February. I looked at his recent heater earlier this morning. With his strong performance this season adding to other good seasons from Blackhawks prospects, the early returns on Kyle Davidson’s first draft class appear to be quite good.
- Finally, the NFL offseason kicks into high gear this week with free agency opening for business and the legal negotiating period starting today. Luis has your game plan for the Bears’ big approach to the offseason with the most cap space in the league.
Tinordi Hurt (Again), Toews Skating, Legends Cup Final, Frozen Four Set, and Other Blackhawks Bullets