The Chicago Blackhawks continue to narrow down their roster as training camp progresses, albeit slowly.
First, they assigned goalie Arvid Soderblom to the Rockford IceHogs, bring the training camp roster to 45. With the IceHogs season starting Thursday, there are likely more assignments to Rockford coming on Wednesday.
Next, the Blackhawks placed Brett Connolly on waivers. If Connolly is assigned to Rockford, he’ll free up a roster spot to make room for younger players and give the Blackhawks $1.125 million in cap space.
Colliton on Brett Connolly going on waivers:— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 5, 2021
"It's a tough thing. He's a longtime veteran. So we'll see what happens.. He came into camp very prepared, in excellent shape, and he's had a couple good games. The issue is we've had some really good performances from other players."
Tuesday’s practice likely shed some light on where certain players are in terms of making the Blackhawks opening night roster. The players were split into two groups: one with primarily AHL-bound players and the other with NHL regular / bubble players.
Alex Nylander was with the AHL group, possibly indicating that his showing in the preseason so far means he’s not making the Blackhawks after training camp. That wouldn’t necessarily be surprising, but there is an asset management issue with a potential assignment to Rockford, considering he requires waivers.
Blackhawks 1st practice group looks like the AHL group. Gives us an idea who's on the outside looking in right now:— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 5, 2021
The defense pairings have been switched up: Riley Stillman was moved up to play along side Seth Jones while former USA Hockey teammates Jake McCabe and Connor Murphy were reunited to round out the top-four.
#Blackhawks look today in practice:— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) October 5, 2021
Kubalik - Toews - Kurashev
DeBrincat - T. Johnson - Kane
Borgstrom - K. Dach - Hagel
Khaira - Entwistle - Hardman
Stillman - S. Jones
McCabe - Murphy
de Haan - C. Jones
Galvas - Kalynuk
Another interesting point there is that Jakub Galvas was with the NHL group. He’s a longshot to make the NHL roster, but coach Jeremy Colliton has had nothing but praise for the 22-year old Czech.
Colliton on Galvas last week: "He's been really impressive... He looks like a pro now. And he's not that old. We'll see. He's shown well so far."— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) October 5, 2021
Colliton also named Galvas as one of the standouts from Saturday's game in KC.
The Blackhawks also spent much of Tuesday’s practice working on the penalty kill — not surprising, considering the disastrous outing against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night. Since the lineup going to Minnesota on Thursday will be primarily filled with younger forwards, the focus was on them during these drills.
#Blackhawks forwards working on positioning during penalty kill drills.— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 5, 2021
Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat are together for the first unit. Brandon Hagel and MacKenzie Entwistle for the second. pic.twitter.com/KS4L43m419
In unfortunate news, Wyatt Kalynuk was injured sliding into the boards and did not return after being seen by a trainer. Colliton confirmed after practice that Kalynuk will miss a few weeks with an ankle injury.
Jeremy Colliton on #Blackhawks defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk, who left practice early today:— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) October 5, 2021
"I think he’s going to be out for a little bit. Looks like his ankle. (A few) weeks, I think."
The Blackhawks practice again on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in Chicago before heading to Minnesota on Thursday for their fifth preseason game against the Wild.