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Chicago Blackhawks’ Tanner Kero Mercifully Placed On Waivers

By Colin Likas
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Tanner Kero
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Tanner Kero /
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The Chicago Blackhawks did what they’ve needed to do for probably a month and finally placed one of their long-term press box squatters on waivers

If there’s anyone who deserves Chicago Blackhawks fans’ sympathy this season — and that list is very short — I’d say Tanner Kero and Jordan Oesterle are certainly on it.

These two have been firmly planted in the press box most of this season while the Blackhawks have shown as much consistency as Blackhawks Twitter. It makes almost no sense for two reasons: 1) There has to be some way they could help the team and 2) if not, why are they still here?

Well, with the Blackhawks on a five-game losing streak, the latter point has been worked out, at least partially. The Blackhawks announced Thursday that foward Kero had been placed on waivers with the goal of assigning him to Rockford.

Now, Kero can certainly be picked up by another team. But given how little action he’s actually seen of late, it’d be a shock if any club took a flyer on him. (If this was the Blackhawks’ plan all along, I will roll my eyes into another universe.)

And so, the door is wide open for the long-awaited call-up of speedy forward Vinnie Hinostroza, who is leading the AHL’s IceHog offense early in the season.

What will Blackhawks do with Hinostroza?

I don’t think I’m making too much of a stretch saying it’s going to be Hinostroza called up. You could argue for Matthew Highmore or Tomas Jurco, but I think Hinostroza is more in line with what the Blackhawks need right now: someone who doesn’t make them look like an exhausted group of players.

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  • Where Hinostroza slots in is another question entirely. The Blackhawks are certainly going to use him. They’ve waited until early December to make their first move to the minors, so it’s not going to be done with the intention of planting Hinostroza next to Oesterle and Michal Kempny.

    For my money, there are plenty of Blackhawks who could take a seat. But I think it makes the most sense to let Patrick Sharp have some time off, for starters.

    He’s just been absolutely invisible and offers very little in the way of what the Blackhawks need: scoring production, speed and puck possession. Hinostroza can obviously provide speed, and he’s been scoring frequently in Rockford. The question is if he’s become a solid enough two-way player to hang in the NHL.

    I wouldn’t have any problem with guys like Lance Bouma, Tommy Wingels or even Richard Panik taking a seat as well. Yes, I tabbed the names of three guys who grit it up. And while Bouma and Wingels have stumbled their way to offense of late, you can’t tell me pulling them off the ice is actively making Chicago worse.

    Could another move follow?

    At this point now, with two defensemen still in the press box, I would really like to see Oesterle placed on waivers with the intention of bringing up another forward, like Highmore or Jurco.

    I think Oesterle will clear just as easily as Kero should. Kempny, I’m not so sure would clear despite coach Joel Quenneville’s innate lack of trust in the Czech player. But regardless, the Blackhawks need reinforcements.

    The lines are an absolute cluster, and guys just look exhausted after than five-in-seven run. Unless the Blackhawks plan to Sheldon Brookbank either Oesterle or Kempny into this lineup (please no), another call-up could be on tap.

    Next: Blackhawks' Hot & Not Focuses On Struggles

    And I think it’d be for the best. The Blackhawks are lugging around a bunch of average and below-average players right now while fighting for a playoff spot and have done nothing about it, until today. Change is useful at this point if the Blackhawks are serious about contending for the postseason.

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