The Chicago Blackhawks have reassigned defenseman Gustav Forsling to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, the team announced Sunday.
The move coincides with the return of Artem Anisimov, who is expected to be activated from injured reserve in time for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Chicago needed to make room on the active roster to accommodate Anisimov and elected to send the 21-year-old Swede back to Rockford.
The same thing happened to Forsling last February. After starting the season with the Hawks in 2016-17, Forsling appeared in 36 games before being demoted in February. He played in the final two regular season games but did not make a playoff appearance. He suited up for Chicago 41 times this season.
Once again, Forsling’s demotion was warranted by a downturn in his performance. After a strong start in the first few months of the 2017-18 season, Forsling’s play has coincided with the slide taken by the entire Chicago team over the last few weeks, and his ice time has suffered as a result.
For much of November and December, Forsling was skating over 20 minutes each game. But those numbers have dropped to the teens in the last few weeks, punctuated by a season-low 13:40 during a brutal loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
Forsling’s ceiling remains high, considering he’s played just 79 games while being only 21 years old. And perhaps he can rediscover the belief in his own game that keyed his strong play in the fall, as Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus suggested on Twitter:
Gustav Forsling is only 21. He was excellent in the fall and will be fine in the long run, perhaps even later this season. But he really needs the confidence boost in Rockford.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) January 21, 2018
Chicago returns to the ice at home on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.