The Blackhawks are putting the finishing touches on their 23-man Opening Day roster, sending Vinnie Hinostroza to the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs and placing forwards Tomas Jurco and Jordin Tootoo, and goaltender J-F Berube on waivers Monday. Michal Rozsival was also placed on long-term injured reserve.
The roster now sits at 27 players (16 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders), but will be reduced to 24 once those other three clear waivers (or get claimed by another team).
That leaves us with one more cut.
Cody Franson, who's on a professional tryout agreement with the Blackhawks, has made it this far without getting the ax, and he's certainly performed well enough in training camp and preseason to earn an opportunituy to at least be in the mix on that blue line. All indications point to the 30-year-old defenseman signing a short-term deal with Chicago after roster space is cleared up, meaning he will likely be the final cut — for now — to get the team down to 23.
Marian Hossa needs to be on the roster Day 1, where he is then expected to be placed on LTIR.
Top prospect Alex DeBrincat has secured a spot, as has Lance Bouma, John Hayden, Tommy Wingels and defensemen Jordan Oesterle and Jan Rutta.
The challenging part may be becoming cap compliant by Wednesday, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the final roster decisions. But if there's anyone that has become an expert at navigating the salary cap though, it's Stan Bowman.