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Blackhawks assign 6 players, including Mark McNeill, to AHL

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The Blackhawks' roster is down to 40 players after six were assigned to Rockford on Friday.

Nick Laham

The Blackhawks continued trimming their roster Friday by assigning six players, including former first-round pick Mark McNeill, to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs, reports ESPN Chicago. The team now has 40 active players on its NHL roster -- 23 forwards, 13 defensemen and four goaltenders.

In addition to McNeill, the Blackhawks also assigned forwards Alex Broadhurst and Drew LeBlanc and defensemen Mathieu Brisebois, Dillon Fournier and Viktor Svedberg to Rockford. The IceHogs open their training camp on Sunday, so these guys will continue getting their reps down there while the big club continues its preseason schedule.

None of the names are surprising, including McNeill, who was drafted by the Hawks with the 18th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. The 21-year-old has been making steady progress over the past few years, but never seemed likely to crack a stacked roster that's built to compete for championships.

In other words, if Teuvo Teravainen can't make the Hawks, there's no way in hell someone like McNeill or LeBlanc was going to. So these guys will just keep refining their games down in Rockford for another season, and we'll have to check back in a while from now.