Will Mackenzie Entwistle remain with the Chicago Blackhawks?

Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators
Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

During the year, the focus has rightfully so been on the young core of the Chicago Blackhawks learning to play in both the NHL and with each other. One such player who hasn't received much attention is Mackenzie Entwistle.

Entwistle was a part of the deal that sent Marian Hossa's contract (with Vinnie Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle, and a third-round pick) to Arizona which saw Entwistle as part of the return to Chicago. Originally a late third-round pick of the Coyotes, the big-framed forward out of Ontario was viewed as a player that the Blackhawks very much wanted to be included in this transaction.

A former captain in the OHL, Entwistle would net exactly a point per game in his final season in the league. The next three seasons would see the young winger bounce between Rockford and Chicago while only occasionally hitting the score sheet at the end of the night, demonstrating considerable skill and hustle that would endear him to the coaching staff throughout the years.

From a statistical perspective, Mackenzie Entwistle is a fourth-line player capable of handling 8-12 minutes a match if called upon. With just 32 points over the last three NHL seasons (187 games) the sample size is now quite large.

So, as a pending restricted free agent, will the Chicago Blackhawks look to retain his rights for yet another season?

At just an $800,000 cap hit, Entwistle isn't going to be stressing out Kyle Davidson in the dollars and cents category. His roster spot however appears to be more valuable.

This week Frank Nazar entered the lineup (thusly taking one of the 12 forward positions) and has looked every bit the picture of a highly skilled 1st round pick.

Coming into next season, players such as Aiden Thompson, Samuel Savoie, Colton Dach, or even Oliver Moore (amongst many) could look to enter the United Center on the ice for the first time.

So while Mackenzie Entwistle is a well-liked teammate inside the locker room, a player the fanbase can easily get behind, it may appear like a clear case of "we've seen what you can do and it's time to give someone else that spot".