Chicago Blackhawks Release Miller, Mitchell, Stuart From PTOs

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 28: Mark Stuart
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 28: Mark Stuart /

It didn’t take long for the Chicago Blackhawks to begin trimming their roster, as they released three veterans from professional tryout contracts on Thursday

After one preseason game with the Chicago Blackhawks, three veterans who were more or less brought in to fill space, barring amazing training camp performances, are gone from the team.

Forwards Drew Miller and John Mitchell as well as defenseman Mark Stuart are all gone from their professional tryout contracts less than 48 hours after the Blackhawks defeated the Blue Jackets 5-2 in their preseason opener.

All three guys were going to be super hard-pressed to make the opening night roster. Especially with Miller and Mitchell, there just wasn’t going to be a lot of room for veteran players on a team trying to go younger, unless those veteran players performed very well in camp.

None of these guys stood out in any conceivable way in the preseason opener. Stuart took a really silly interference penalty in the first period and played the fewest minutes of any Blackhawks defenseman. Mitchell also wound up with a penalty, though he did win 83 percent of his faceoffs in less than 10 minutes of ice time. Miller contributed two shots on goal on the night.

These are no great losses for the Blackhawks. None of these guys could have contributed in a better way than the guys who will make the opening night roster (outside maybe Jordin Tootoo). They were just around to push the younger guys, and there’s always a chance they could be used to fill AHL spots down the road.

Roster moving forward, lineup tonight

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There’s no time for the Blackhawks to mourn their losses here (although Mitchell has already been signed by Columbus), as they have a home preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The Blackhawks are down to 30 forwards, 18 defensemen and six goaltenders on their training camp roster. According to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, here were the lines the Blackhawks rolled at today’s morning skate:

There’s not a guarantee these lines will roll tonight against the Wings, but let’s just go ahead and say it’s entirely probable. After all, this will be the preseason home opener for the Blackhawks. Might as well give the fans some of their money’s worth in the form of bigger names.

Missing from those lines, however, is captain Jonathan Toews. It appears he will miss tonight’s game due to an illness.

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Here are the defensive pairings from the morning skate as well, courtesy The Athletic’s Scott Powers:

There’s a fun surprise in there in the form of Luc Snuggerud. The defensive prospect is getting some serious rub on the second pairing with Brent Seabrook, especially in a game in which the Blackhawks are dressing many regulars. Could Snuggerud be the surprise out of camp this year?

I haven’t seen who the starting goaltender will be tonight for Chicago, but given how the rest of the lineup looks, it could easily be Corey Crawford.

Next: Forsberg's Stellar Debut Keeps Hopes High

Tonight’s game will be on NHL Network in specific regions, as well as WGN and WGN Radio in the Chicagoland area.