Gustafsson, 23, has one assist and 10 penalty minutes over eight games with Rockford The Swedish defenseman was signed by the Blackhawks in April after the Edmonton Oilers allowed him to hit free agency. Orginally drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, Gustafsson never signed with the team, and per NHL rules, Edmonton lost its rights to him after two years.
The 6-foot, 176-pound defenseman spent the past two seasons playing a key role with Frölunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League, recording 49 points (six goals, 43 assists). He thinks he's ready to make the leap in 2015-16.
"I’m not coming over here to have a goal to go down to the AHL. I’m coming over here hunting for a spot on the NHL team," Gustafsson said at prospect camp.
Gustafsson, who is a left-handed shot, will need to produce quickly if he wants a spot on the Hawks roster with 37-year-old veteran Michal Rozsival eligible to come off long-term injured reserve Nov. 2. Rozsival, who suffered a fractured left ankle during Game 4 in the second round of the playoffs against the Minnesota Wild, has resumed skating during practices.
Gustaffson is the second player from the IceHogs to be recalled in as many days. Forward Tanner Kero got the call Tuesday after the Hawks reassigned forward Vince Hinostroza to Rockford. Kero, 23, is third in the AHL in goals (six) and 10th in points (eight). For the week ending Oct. 25, Kero was named the AHL Player of the Week.