Nov 20, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks left wingViktor Tikhonov
(14) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks have announced that Viktor Tikhonov has been placed on waivers. The Blackhawks had signed the 27 year old winger from SKA ST Petersburg in Russia. The deal was a one year deal worth 1.04 million.
He had lasted played in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008-09 before this season. After washing out of the NHL, he went to Russia. Tikhonov spent the last three seasons in the KHL. In the KHL, Tikhonov played 106 games recording 43 goals and 29 assists for 72 points. Last season, Tikhonov recorded 12 goals and 15 assists in 39 games with SKA.
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Tikhonov’s game from the KHL did not translate to the Blackhawks style of play. He has struggled with the Blackhawks this season. Despite seeing top line minutes, his offensive game did not yield any positive results. He has appeared in 11 games and recorded ZERO points. His lack of points has resulted in Tikhonov being a healthy scratch for 10 of the last 11 games this season. With the Blackhawks offense struggling, it is sad that Tikhonov could not step up his offensive game. Thankfully, Tikhonov is the only Russian disappointment this season. The Blackhawks would be sunk without the stellar play of their other two Russian forwards. Artemi Panarin (8 goals and 18 assists) has been an instant success and Artem Anisimov (11 goals and 7 assists) is the second line center the Blackhawks have been searching for.
It seems likely that someone will claim Tikhonov because of his affordable contract and short term commitment. If Tikhonov is claimed by someone, the Blackhawks can bring another forward up to the NHL club. Reports have speculated that Bryan Bickell will make his return to the Blackhawks. Bickell has 7 goals and 7 assists in his 12 games with the Ice Hogs this season. My guess would be another young forward or even a young defenseman could be recalled. The young forward could be either Ryan Hartman or Vincent Hinostroza. The defenseman would be either Viktor Svedberg or Erik Gustafsson. The wild card call-up could be Jeremy Morin. Morin could provide the Blackhawks with an offensive jump in their bottom six forwards. Morin has been producing at the AHL level again this season. Morin has 5 goals and 8 assists in 19 games this season.
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If Tikhonov is not claimed by an NHL team, he has two options. He could be assigned to the Rockford Icehogs of the AHL or he could return to the KHL. He might even return to his former team, SKA St. Petersburg. SKA St. Petersburg has been busy this week. SKA St. Petersburg claimed Nashville Predators forward Steve Moses this past week.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Tikhonov.