After reaching the eighth game of a losing streak for the second time this season, the Chicago Blackhawks opted for a roster shuffle Wednesday morning.
Forward Dylan Sikura and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom were recalled from the AHL, while forward Alexandre Fortin was sent down. To make room for the promoted players, forward Artem Anisimov was placed on injured reserve.
Anisimov hasn’t played since exiting Sunday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with a concussion and was in the concussion protocol earlier this week. Anisimov had six goals and nine assists in 31 games this season before the injury.
Sikura, 23, is the biggest news of the day, a player that has been flying up the Blackhawks prospect rankings list after his college career at Northeastern University. Chicago’s sixth-round pick in the 2014 made his NHL debut late last season, picking up three assists in five games. Sikura was projected to be one of the young players breaking training camp in September with the Blackhawks but ended up in Rockford to start the season. Through 26 AHL games, Sikura leads the IceHogs with nine goals and 18 points.
Dahlstrom, a 2013 second-round pick, had one goal and seven assists while manning the blue line in Rockford. The 23-year-old should also be familiar with Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton, who coached him in 77 games between the AHL regular season and Calder Cup Playoffs last season. Dahlstrom also appeared in 11 NHL games last season, picking up three assists.
Sikura’s promotion could have him in the lineup for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, because Chicago wouldn’t call up one of its top prospects just to sit the bench. Recalling Dahlstrom may have a slightly different motive, however, as Scott Powers from The Athletic pointed out on Twitter:
Dahlstrom being called up might just be insurance with Gustafsson being sick yesterday. Forsling is still on IR.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) December 12, 2018
Fortin returns to the IceHogs after playing in the first 24 games of his NHL career, with three goals and three assists. He had 21 points in 53 games with the IceHogs last season.