Eight more cut from Blackhawks roster
The Blackhawks' roster picture for opening night became a bit clearer Tuesday when eight more cuts were made.
Assigned to Rockford were forwards Drew LeBlanc, Terry Broadhurst, Phillip Danault, Byron Froese and Kyle Beach, who needed to clear waivers, and did. Also sent to Rockford was goaltender Antti Raanta.
The Hawks released forwards Brad Mills and Maxim Shalunov from training camp and both will report to Rockford, Mills on an AHL contract and Shalunov on a tryout agreement.
Defenseman Theo Peckham and winger Brad Winchester were put on waivers for the purpose of sending them to Rockford.
The active roster (including Peckham and Winchester for now) includes 16 forwards, 10 defensemen and two goaltenders.
That leaves defensemen Mike Kostka and Ryan Stanton and forwards Brandon Pirri, Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin, Jimmy Hayes and Joakim Nordstrom left to compete for as many as three roster spots.
"All of them have had good camps," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
•Mike Kostka: With Michal Rozsival's iffy health, the odds favor the Hawks starting the season with eight defensemen.
Kostka has been impressive from the start of camp with 2 assists in three games and has 35 games of NHL experience with Toronto last season.
•Ryan Stanton: He could become the odd man out even if the Hawks keep eight on defense. His offensive upside isn't nearly as complete as Kostka's, but he is steady on the blue line.
•Ben Smith: Leads the Hawks with 3 points in the preseason, including a pair of goals, 1 of them short-handed. He also is plus-3. If Smith can kill penalties he would improve his chances of staying.
•Brandon Pirri: Played a strong game in Pittsburgh on Monday with an assist in his first preseason action because of a lower-body injury. He likely will get another chance to show what he can do Saturday against Washington in the exhibition finale.
•Jimmy Hayes: There's a spot at right wing on the third line waiting for the big-bodied Hayes if he can snag it. He has 2 assists in the preseason and has been solid defensively.
•Jeremy Morin: There's something about this kid that you love, whether it's his offensive upside or willingness to get nasty when it's needed. He also has 3 points in the preseason with Smith to lead the Hawks.
•Joakim Nordstrom: Some might be surprised that he's still around, but Nordstrom has shown some chemistry with fellow Swede Marcus Kruger as a penalty killer.
Of course, Marian Hossa's health will dictate a lot of what the Hawks do at forward.
Hossa is expected on the ice Wednesday, but with a sore back that has kept him out of every preseason game until now, that might be wishful thinking on the part of Quenneville.