The Chicago Blackhawks placed center Artem Anisimov on injured reserve, the team announced Friday. Defenseman Cody Franson has been activated from IR to replace him on the roster.
The loss of Anisimov blows a hole in the Hawks’ already-thin depth chart up the middle. The team recently recalled rookie David Kampf from the AHL to make his NHL debut after an underwhelming stint from fellow call-up Vinnie Hinostroza. Now without Anisimov, the Hawks essentially have one reliable top-nine center in Jonathan Toews.
Anisimov suffered an upper-body injury in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 loss to the Canucks on Thursday night. He joins starting goaltender Corey Crawford on IR, which puts Chicago in a precarious position as it tries to make up ground in the Central Division standings. Without those two, this is a far less impressive team.
The Hawks don’t have any time to waste with the game against the Oilers Friday night, so we’ll have to see how Joel Quenneville realigns his lineup without Anisimov. Could Nick Schmaltz return to center? Maybe give Hinostroza a shot at center between Schmaltz and Patrick Kane? At this point, none of those options sounds particularly exciting, but the team doesn’t have many alternatives.