Bouma was a free agent acquisition by the Blackhawks in the offseason, signing a one-year deal for $1 million. He’s played in 53 games this season for the Hawks, scoring three goals and adding six assists — numbers that are about what you’d expect from a veteran fourth-liner.
Along with Tommy Wingels, Bouma has been getting some looks among the Hawks’ top lines in the last few weeks, possibly to audition Bouma as trade bait with the deadline upcoming on Monday. But this move suggests that there weren’t any serious offers for Bouma. And with the Blackhawks well out of playoff contention now, this move could mean that the Hawks are going to bring up another player from the Rockford Ice Hogs to finish out the season.
John Hayden figures to be the front-runner for that spot, having already played 39 games with the team this season. He was sent down to Rockford in late December, hoping to get more ice time in all situations, including the power play and penalty kill units. In 19 games with the Ice Hogs, Hayden has five goals and nine assists. The Athletic’s Scott Powers had two other potential candidates:
Matthew Highmore is deserving of a look soon too. He scored his 21st goal of the AHL season last night. He has 21 goals and 14 assists in 56 games. Anthony Louis, who has 32 points in 51 games, is another candidate.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) February 25, 2018
Any corresponding move to this will likely come Monday morning, once the 24-hour waiver process has been completed.