The defenseman was held out of Chicago’s 2-1 overtime win against the Predators on Friday due to precautionary reasons by the Blackhawks’ hockey operations department. Nick Seeler drew into the lineup for Gustafsson, and Slater Koekkoek moved to the top pairing.
Chicago entered Saturday six points behind the Flames and Coyotes for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks play the Stars at 2 p.m. Sunday in Dallas then travel to St. Louis for an off day Monday before the 2 p.m. trade deadline ahead of their game Tuesday against the Blues.
Gustafsson is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after his two-year contract with a $1.2 million salary cap hit expires, so it’s not a surprise the Blackhawks are looking to trade him. He had a career-high 17 goals and 60 points last season, but has only 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 59 games this season.
Colliton on Gustafsson: "More goals go in for the team than against when he's on the ice."— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 22, 2020
"People remember the plays he makes that end up in the back of the net against, but he's also part of driving play and creating chances."
With Gustafsson not traveling with the Blackhawks, defenseman Lucas Carlsson was called up to the NHL for the first time in his career. Carlsson, 22, had a career-high seven-game point streak end in the Rockford IceHogs’ 1-0 win against the San Antonio Rampage on Friday. He had nine points (one goal, eight assists) during his point streak, and leads all Rockford blueliners with 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 48 games.
If Carlsson plays, he’ll be the seventh player in Blackhawks history to wear No. 46.
- Shawn Byram
- Tuomas Gronman
- Dmitri Nabokov
- Dennis Bonvie
- Todd Gill
- Colin Fraser