Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Call Up Brandon Mashinter

By Colin Likas
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After a brief break from the call-up carousel, the Chicago Blackhawks were back at it again Wednesday. Winger Brandon Mashinter was promoted from the Rockford IceHogs to the Blackhawks ahead of the latter team’s morning skate, giving the Blackhawks the maximum 23 players on their roster and giving another prospect a look at the major-league level.

Mashinter was actually tied for the IceHogs team lead in points — among players who aren’t currently with the Blackhawks — with seven, sharing the honor with previous Blackhawks call-up Ryan Hartman. I say “actually” because Mashinter is known more as a grinder, but we’ll get to that later. As of his promotion, Mashinter had four goals and three assists in 12 games for the IceHogs.

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Mashinter isn’t so much like previous forward prospects who have gotten the call — Vincent Hinostroza, Tanner Kero, Marko Dano and Hartman. For starters, he’s an older guy at 27, and he’s been around. Mashinter has been playing in some level of professional hockey since the 2003-04 season, when he was with the Thornhill Major Islanders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He remained in the OHL through the 2008-09 season before latching on with the Worcester Sharks, the AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.

That leads to another difference between Mashinter and some of the other prospects the Blackhawks have called up this season: He has big-league playing time. Dano also achieved that with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, but the rest had very limited (Hartman) or no (Hinostroza, Kero, defenseman Erik Gustafsson) playing time in the NHL before this season. Mashinter saw 13 games with the big-league Sharks in the 2010-11 season and 10 more across two seasons for the New York Rangers.

Now, looking at his stats is where we see the grinder label come into play. Mashinter has amassed 847 penalty minutes across 725 games in the OHL, AHL and NHL. In that same timeframe, Mashinter has 160 goals and 150 assists. So he’s averaging a point for every 2.7 (approximately) penalty minutes he earns. Mashinter plays a very different style than the previous forward call-ups, and that makes his addition interesting.

It also looks like he’ll get right into the action Thursday against New Jersey.

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Ryan Garbutt and Viktor Tikhonov are the odd men out, apparently. It’s more surprising for Garbutt, who was believed to have missed Sunday’s game against Edmonton only because he was sick. Pair that with Joel Quenneville‘s tendency not to mix up lines after a win, and you have a unique situation. This could very easily just be a chance to give another young guy a look, but you probably can’t overlook the fact the Blackhawks face the hard-hitting Blues on Saturday. Hopefully Mashinter’s focus in his time with the Blackhawks is on helping the fourth line become better offensively and not on trying to punch someone’s face in.

Facepalm.

Next: Grading Defenseman Erik Gustafsson

There’s no indication of how long Mashinter’s stint, his first with the Blackhawks, might last. Duncan Keith appears likely to return this weekend, but the Blackhawks could easily oust another defenseman (likely David Rundblad or Gustafsson) to slip him back into the fold. If that happens, the Blackhawks could continue carrying 14 forwards as long as they’d like. And if Mashinter impresses, that could be an extended period of time.

What do you think about Mashinter’s promotion? Let us know in the comments section.

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