The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled defenseman Carl Dahlstrom from the AHL, the team announced Friday. Jan Rutta has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 6 in order to make room on the active roster.
Dahlstrom, the No. 51 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, is a big, lanky defenseman whose spent most of the past two seasons in Rockford. He had struggled as a rookie in 2016-17, but this season, he’s emerged as one of the IceHogs’ best players with 23 points and a plus-14 rating in 47 games. It’s a massive improvement from the 11 points and minus-12 rating he posted in 70 games the previous season.
We recently ranked Dahlstrom No. 9 among the Blackhawks’ top prospects. At the time, we noted that his upside isn’t terribly high, but given the progress he’s shown in the AHL, he has potential to be a depth piece in the NHL.
The most interesting aspect of Dahlstrom’s promotion is what it means for other players in Rockford. Gustav Forsling and Ville Pokka are both in the AHL, too, but the team opted to give Dahlstrom the opportunity this time around. While the patience with Forsling, who was sent down last month, isn’t surprising, it seems clear now that Pokka no longer factors into the team’s plans.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Pokka is moved before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, similar to how former first-round pick Mark McNeill was finally shipped to the Stars last season after failing to earn an opportunity in Chicago. At this point, the team might as well give him a change-of-scenery while seeing if it can get a lottery ticket on someone else.