The Chicago Blackhawks recalled Adam Boqvist from the Rockford IceHogs late Thursday morning.
Adam Boqvist just returned to the IceHogs’ lineup after missing two games with a facial injury. Now, Boqvist is on his way to Chicago to likely make his NHL debut on Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks faceoff against Los Angeles.
The Blackhawks will now have eight defensemen on the roster. They do not need to make a corresponding move with the roster currently sitting at 23 skaters, with Connor Murphy currently on LTIR.
However, the addition of Boqvist, coupled with the Blackhawks’ early struggles, has made many wonder if there are changes on the horizon for this roster. With that in mind, we will break down a few scenarios in which this Adam Boqvist saga will unfold for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago Blackhawks Trade Erik Gustafsson?
This is the scenario Blackhawks’ Twitter went to immediately. Gustafsson’s awful performance in Nashville on Tuesday, coupled with his complete lack of offensive spark that carried him through much of last season, the entire Chicago Blackhawks’ fan base has turned it’s back on Gus.
To be fair, he had already been skating on fairly thin ice with much of the fan base. Gustafsson’s performance in Nashville was likely the final straw, even for Blackhawks’ management.
The issue with moving Gustafsson now is that his trade value is at an all-time low, even after having a career offensive year just last season. His inability to play in his own end, along with his non-existent offense this season, makes me think he would be worth nothing more than a middling draft pick or another team’s reclamation project.
If Adam Boqvist can show he can effectively step in, and at least provide that offense on the backend that they desperately are missing, it would not surprise me if they decide to move on from Gustafsson. We will have to see how Boqvist’s audition unfolds.
Adam Boqvist Re-Assigned to Rockford?
Honestly, I think this is going to be the most likely scenario we find ourselves in. It is the easiest move to coordinate for the Chicago Blackhawks, with Adam Boqvist still being waivers exempt. The recall of Boqvist could just be something of a wake up call for the roster, one that they desperately need.
The next question will be: what happens if Boqvist plays so well that they can’t send him down? If that comes to fruition, then honestly, it is a bridge they will have to cross. However, in my heart of hearts, I think this move is nothing more than a way to give the sleeping veterans of the Chicago Blackhawks a much needed wake up call.
Chicago Blackhawks Trade Brent Seabrook?
This is the absolute least likely scenario here, but with Brent Seabrook’s comments from earlier in the week, you wonder what his future looks like as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. With that being said, I don’t see how it is even possible to move Seabrook’s contract.
Seabrook is due $6.875 million over the next FIVE season which seems impossible for them to move, even if they were able to retain a good chunk of the salary. For the Chicago Blackhawks to move on from Seabrook, they would either likely need to swap bad contracts or find a GM who is absolutely still in love with Seabrook, which I don’t believe exists anymore.
Brent Seabrook’s contribution to this organization is unparalleled, but when it comes down to it, he just doesn’t have the game to justify his contract. Even with Boqvist getting the call, it doesn’t mean the Blackhawks’ worst contract is on its way out.
Defensive Rotation to Build Competition
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Eight defenseman is honestly too many to be carrying on a roster, especially when two of those defensemen could be playing heavy minutes in the AHL. It is difficult to see this as a valid long-term solution for the Blackhawks, but while Adam Boqvist is up, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine head coach Jeremy Colliton trying to give everyone a little bit of ice time.
While not an ideal solution, this could be the mindset for the team going forward, while they either try to accommodate a trade or possibly send down their waiver exempt players in Adam Boqvist or Dennis Gilbert.
Clearly, the youth movement is on with Kirby Dach sticking around in the NHL and burning the first year of his entry-level deal, as well as the recall of Boqvist. It is curious to see what the level of commitment will be to this youth movement, but if the last two days are any indication, it would appear that the future is now for the Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects.