As Injuries Pile Up, Does Rockford Provide Help for the Blackhawks?

Things that make you go hmmmm
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

While no one expected the Chicago Blackhawks to make a playoff run this year, the results through 30 games are still not what was presumed to happen. The Hawks are now 9-20-1 (19pts) which is 32 of 32 in terms of NHL teams. The San Jose Sharks after 2 weeks of hockey were thought of as a candidate for potentially having the worst season of all time. They have righted the ship (somewhat) and even went 6-2-2 over a 10 game stint to jump past the Blackhawks in the standings.

So while the hits keep coming; Corey Perry's contract was terminated, Taylor Hall is out for the year, Joey Anderson to IR, Alex Vlasic was out for the last game, Athanasiou and Blackwell remain on the shelf, Kevin Korchinski is away from the team for a family matter, and even some players have missed time being sick. At this moment, there doesn't seem to be many positives of late in terms of the health of the roster.

The results on the ice also reflect this as the team has lost 4 in a row and only have 5 points in their last 10 games. So where does the help come from? Perhaps Athanasiou and Blackwell, when they return shortly, can provide a spark to the offense. Maybe when Tinordi and Vlasic return they can assist in the physicality department and make it more difficult on opponents top lines? Or perhaps Luke Richardson needs to look to Rockford for help?

Much like the Blackhawks, the Rockford Icehogs season hasn't gone to plan either. Sitting in 4th place in the central, the Piggies only have 23 points in 24 matchups so far. Despite a veteran lineup that includes David Gust, Brett Seney, Anders Bjork, and Mike Hardman it looks like the Icehogs will have to fight to make the AHL playoffs this season.

Luke Prokop, Ethan Del Mastro
Milwaukee Admirals v Rockford Icehogs / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Blackhawks have already taken advantage of some of the players, having recalled Joey Anderson, Filip Roos, Louis Crevier, Cole Guttman, Wyatt Kaiser, and Isaak Phillips. Could 20 year old Colton Dach be the next player to get his chance in the NHL? After a hot start, Dach's production (and the teams) has cooled, however he still has 14 points in his 19 games thus far. As a bigger bodied wing that crashes the net area, Dach seems aptly suited to fill an important role for the Blackhawks either imminently or in the future.

Cole Guttman
Chicago Blackhawks v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages

If the injuries and absences continue on the blue line, Ethan Del Mastro looks to be a player that could get his chance as well. The soon to be 21 year old has played well and been the Icehogs most consistent defender. The 6'4 left shot D-man already has 14 points in his first professional season and he looks like a future piece for the Blackhawks within their defensive core.

Anyway you look at it, the results likely won't come anytime soon. The Blackhawks have been "patching" roster holes with AHL players to mixed results, injuried players are coming back maybe not fully healed to less than ideal play, and any trade will not be for a true top 6 player as the cost is not something Kyle Davidson would be smart to part with at the moment. Additions like Anthony Beavillier (for a 5th round pick) are about all the Hawks should be doing in my opinion. The waiver wire should be looked at, the play of the Icehogs should be looked at, and most importantly at this point of the season: The draft eligible players should be looked at as we (as fans) should be familiarizing ourselves with those projected 1st round talents.

Sam Dickinson
London Knights v Windsor Spitfires / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages