Chicago Blackhawks recall Jacob Nilsson, reassign Luke Johnson to AHL
By Samuel Boland
The Chicago Blackhawks announced that they are recalling Jacob Nilsson and will reassign Luke Johnson to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.
Jacob Nilsson, a 25-year old Swedish forward, signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks back on May 31st.
Here’s a look into Nilsson’s past via the Chicago Blackhawks official announcement of his signing last May:
"“Nilsson totaled 18 points (8G, 10A) for Mora IK of the Swedish Hockey League during the 2017-18 campaign. His point total was fourth on the team. During the prior two years (2015-17) as Mora IK competed in Allsvenskan, he notched 61 points (29G, 32A) in 93 regular-season games, including registering career highs in goals (20) and assists (22) during the 2016-17 season. Over that two-season period, Nilsson also tallied three goals and three helpers in nine qualification games.”"
Obviously, Nilsson has scoring in his past. The Chicago Blackhawks have now won three straight, but that doesn’t mean their previous problems with depth scoring are now non-existent. Of the nineteen Blackhawks who have played in 20+ games with the club, only 12 have of double digit points.
Furthermore, only six players on the entire Blackhawks roster have more than 5 goals. Then again, they could be the Los Angeles Kings who don’t have a single player with double digits in goals.
The grass isn’t always greener, Blackhawks fans.
Nilsson had 6 goals and 8 assists this season with the Rockford IceHogs in 31 games. That’s good enough for fourth on the team in goals and fifth in total points. Nilsson, a center or left wing, adds to the Chicago Blackhawks depth down the middle in the absence of Marcus Kruger.
Luke Johnson, who is being reassigned in place of Nilsson, looked very impressive during training camp and the preseason. Coming out those handful of preseason games I had thought Johnson could play a decent role for the ‘Hawks this season.
Unfortunately, Johnson couldn’t play at that same level consistently this year and posted just one assist in 15 games. His Corsi sat at 48.7% despite 55.2% of his starts at even strength coming in the offensive zone.
Of the six centers on the Chicago Blackhawks, Johnson’s even strength face-off percentage is the second best on the team (48.1%). Then again, only Jonathan Toews has a FO% above 50 percent, so maybe Nilsson can be the first join him (a guy can hope, right?)
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On the bright side, Johnson has done well in the AHL this year (4 goals, 3 assists in 10 games), so hopefully he can continue to find his scoring touch for Rockford while the Blackhawks give Nilsson a spin.