Gustav Forsling will stay with the Blackhawks all season

And coach Joel Quenneville says the team never considered sending him back to Sweden, either.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Gustav Forsling has hit some bumps in his rookie season, but the team won’t be sending him back to Sweden for more seasoning. Coach Joel Quenneville delivered that news Sunday, and added that the Blackhawks haven’t even considered the possibility of letting the 20-year-old go back overseas.

Forsling’s situation with the Blackhawks was unique this season given the European Assignment Clause in his contract, which states that Forsling has the right to go back to Sweden if the team tries reassigning him to the AHL. That pretty much scratched off that option, and meant Forsling would either spend the season in Chicago or Sweden.

So the odds were always in favor of Forsling staying with the Blackhawks all season. It became a reasonable question, though, given his up-and-down performance and the fact that Chicago is carrying eight defensemen. Someone needs to get moved off the roster when Jonathan Toews comes off injured reserve, and it felt like there was at least a small chance Forsling could be that guy.

Quenneville unequivocally removed that possibility on Sunday, however, and you can make a good argument it’s for the better. As I said in the recent rookie tracker update, the Blackhawks have to view Forsling as a someone who will keep getting better with more reps. They’re trying to develop him into a true building block for the defense, and that will require some patience. We can take some crappy Corsi numbers in December if it means he’ll turn in better efforts in April.

And it’s fair to say that Forsling’s upside is higher than any other young Chicago defenseman in or close to the NHL. So you can see why they’re going to keep working with him, even if the results haven’t quite been there yet. If you’ve ever complained that the Blackhawks don’t show enough commitment to young players, here’s an example to the contrary.