The Chicago Blackhawks have assigned forwards Mark McNeill and Brandon Mashinter to AHL Rockford, the team announced Tuesday. The moves come after the two forwards cleared waivers, which they were placed on Monday.
Teams are given 24 hours to claim waived players, but everyone passed on claiming McNeill or Mashinter. With a busy day on the waiver wire, several players did get claimed — including Teemu Pulkkinen and PA Parenteau — but the Hawks weren’t in on the action.
McNeill, a former first-round pick, has seen his value crater over the years. It’s telling that he was able to clear waivers without getting claimed as a 23-year-old coming off a productive AHL season. At this point, McNeill is starting to risk getting stuck in the tweener (and bust) category.
I’m a little surprised that nobody took a flier on McNeill, but he’s never really stood out on the ice. Even during the 2016-17 preseason with an NHL roster spot on the line, McNeill just looked like a guy during preseason games full of fringe talent. That felt like a clear opportunity for McNeill to differentiate himself as a more experienced player, yet the Hawks have opted to start several younger guys in NHL roles to open the season.