It is unlikely that Mike Hardman makes any sort of impact on the Chicago Blackhawks lineup this season, but having a prospect like Hardman around definitely helps the organization.
Hardman, who is 6’2″ 205 pounds, has just ended his career with Boston College and is ready to go pro. The 22-year-old right-wing went undrafted before signing with the Hawks and is a nice addition to the prospect pool.
With so many of the Blackhawks’ recent top prospects, all going to the NHL, restocking that pool of young talent is important and is what this season is all about. Hardman’s contract begins immediately so there is a real possibility Blackhawks fans could see him this season.
Hardman is currently on the Taxi-Squad, but he has to quarantine before hitting the ice in practice. This move by the Hawks does spark some interest in me about what the team is going to do at the deadline.
Adding Hardman brings in another player that can play down the stretch in the bottom six. While Hardman has not played a game in the NHL yet, giving him 10-15 games this season in the NHL might be for the better.
Will the Chicago Blackhawks try and create a roster spot for Hardman this season?
Mattias Janmark and Carl Soderberg are excellent options for the Hawks to trade away. While neither is going to net a first-round pick, Chicago could land a prospect or two by moving those players. Plus now they have a few new names on the Taxi Squad who could slot into the lineup.
Hardman wore number 19 in college. That number is taken by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews so Hardman will wear number 86 with the organization. I could have sworn the team retired that number when the great Teuvo Teravainen was traded from the team after 115 games during the 2016 offseason.
With a prospect like Hardman, it is kind of hit or miss on whether or not he will make a real impact in the NHL, but it is a nice thing to see a new name added to the lineup. Maybe Hardman can be another great steal by Stan Bowman – time will tell.