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Chicago Blackhawks: Paille Sticking Around In Rockford

By Colin Likas
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Not too long after it was announced Lubomir Visnovsky and Tomas Kopecky had been released from training camp to whittle the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster to 33 players, the team made some more moves Monday.

Daniel Paille, the former Boston forward who was on the Blackhawks’ training camp roster via a professional tryout contract, was also released from camp, while Brandon Mashinter and Cameron Schilling were sent to the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford. Mashinter, a forward, had been put on waivers late Sunday, cleared and was sent to the minors. Schilling, a defenseman, was outright sent down.

While Mashinter and Schilling are headed for Rockford, it was assumed Paille would move on to try and find another NHL job. That is not the case, however, as we’ve learned today. Paille has accepted another professional tryout contract, this one with the Rockford IceHogs. Multiple outlets, including the team itself, reported the move Tuesday.

A player is allowed to be signed to a maximum of two PTOs in a season, so if Paille gets through 25 games with the IceHogs, he’ll need to be signed to a typical contract if the team wants him to stick around. Otherwise, Paille will become a free agent.

Paille won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2012 and can provide some solid experience for younger guys looking to make the leap to the NHL. While it’s appearing more and more like Paille’s window for legitimate NHL playing time is closing or closed, he could also serve as a fill-in guy if/when injuries strike for the Blackhawks in 2015-16.

The 31-year-old spent the previous six seasons with Boston following parts of five seasons in Buffalo. Typically used as a bottom-six grinder, Paille has maxed out at 19 goals and 16 assists in a single season (both coming in 2007-08), and he only cracked double-digit goals twice in Boston (10, both in 2009-10 and 2013). He can be one of those role players the Blackhawks call upon later in the season, assuming he sticks around in Rockford that long.

With these recent roster decisions, the Blackhawks’ current training camp lineup looks like this ahead of Thursday’s tilt against the St. Louis Blues:

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Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Kyle Baun, Bryan Bickell, Marko Dano, Andrew Desjardins, Ryan Garbutt, Ryan Hartman, Vincent Hinostroza, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Marcus Kruger, Artemi Panarin, Dennis Rasmussen, Garret Ross, Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen, Viktor Tikhonov, Jonathan Toews

Defensemen: Kyle Cumiskey, Trevor Daley, Erik Gustafsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, Michal Rozsival, David Rundblad, Brent Seabrook, Viktor Svedberg, Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltenders: Corey Crawford, Scott Darling, Michael Leighton

So we’re at 31 and need to get to 23 by Opening Night on Oct. 7. Joel Quenneville will likely roll with either 13 forwards and eight defensemen (plus two goaltenders) or 14 forwards and seven defensemen (plus two goaltenders). Personally, I see the latter happening, but with the back end of the Blackhawks’ blue line a bit of a mess right now, that could change.

As Blackhawk Up writer Matt Barbato pointed out earlier today, Baun is pushing hard to take one of the final one or two forward spots on the roster. Blackhawk Up’s Gail Kauchak also noticed that Bickell’s roster spot may not be entirely locked down due to his trouble with vertigo symptoms. So these late cuts certainly aren’t going to be black and white for Q and crew.

Who do you think are the final eight (I should say seven, because Leighton will certainly be sent to Rockford) players to go before Opening Night? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Next: Visnovsky, Kopecky Released

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