The Chicago Blackhawks have placed forward Viktor Tikhonov on waivers Saturday, reports Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. The move will make Tikhonov available for the other 29 teams to claim, otherwise he'll be free to be sent to the Rockford IceHogs if he clears.
Tikhonov, 27, was signed by the Blackhawks to a one-year, $1.04 million contract over the summer. The forward, who previously played with Artemi Panarin in the KHL, cracked the opening night roster, but hasn't seen steady playing time in weeks as the team has opted to use guys like Tanner Kero and Brandon Mashinter. Now Tikhonov is likely being moved off the roster, either to another team or Rockford.
The driving factor here is likely to free up Tikhonov's roster spot and salary cap space, potentially to make room for a Bryan Bickell return. Moving his salary would free up enough space to fit the $950,000 cap increase that will applied if Bickell is put back on the roster. The alternative would be to reassign multiple rookies -- most had figured Mashinter and Kero or Marko Dano -- although this seems like the latest indication that Q's new fourth-line toy isn't going anywhere.
At this point, it appears the Hawks are content to move forward with just Artem Anisimov as the Russian mentor to help Panarin. I'm guessing that helping Panarin feel comfortable early on was key to Tikhonov's spot on the roster and now that's not nearly as much of an issue.
In 11 games this season, Tikhonov recorded zero points and 11 shots on goal in just over 10 minutes of playing time per contest. He played only three times in November and last suited up over two weeks in a loss to the Calgary Flames.