The Chicago Blackhawks recalled forward David Kampf from the AHL for the first time in his career Wednesday. The team announced the move alongside a goaltender shakeup with Corey Crawford going on injured reserve.
Kampf, 22, joined the Blackhawks’ organization in May on a two-year entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent. The versatile forward had emerged as a key player for Piráti Chomutov in the top Czech league before deciding to make the leap to North America.
The Hawks assigned Kampf to the Rockford IceHogs to open the 2017-18 season. He’s since emerged as one of their top scorers with 17 points in 30 games, which is tied for fourth on a much-improved team. One of Kampf’s issues through his career was an inability to turn his talent into production, as his former coach told The Athletic last month, so it’s been encouraging to see him get more involved offensively.
At the NHL level, you have to figure that the Hawks want to see what Kampf can do at center. They’ve leaned heavily on Jonathan Toews, Artem Anisimov, and Tommy Wingels up the middle this season, but haven’t really found a stable third-line center. As a result, we’ve seen Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Nick Schmaltz rotate through that spot at times without a lot of success.
Kampf may not be the solution for that role, but he’s an intriguing player and could bring some energy to the lineup. And with Crawford and Cody Franson on IR, there was room to recall him without needing to make room on the roster.