Blackhawks

Five Blackhawks make top 100 prospect list

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USA TODAY

Five Blackhawks make top 100 prospect list

After missing the playoffs for two straight seasons, the Blackhawks are in a transition period coming off the team’s long run as a Stanley Cup contender. There is hope for a relatively quick return to contention with a number of highly-regarded prospects.

ESPN ranked the top 100 NHL prospects on Wednesday and the Blackhawks have five skaters on the list.

Leading the way for Blackhawks prospects is Kirby Dach, who was the third pick in this year’s draft. He is ranked No. 6 overall. The top two picks from that draft, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, are the top two prospects in the rankings.

Adam Boqvist is the second Blackhawks prospect, coming in at No. 29 overall. The defenseman was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Defensemen Ian Mitchell (No. 68) and Nicolas Beaudin (No. 82) and right winger Alexander Nylander (No. 88) round out Blackhawks prospects in the top 100. Mitchell opted to return to the University of Denver for his junior year. Beaudin was the Blackhawks’ second first-round pick in 2018, picked No. 27. Nylander was acquired in the offseason in exchange for young defenseman Henri Jokiharju.

With five prospects on the list the Blackhawks had more than most teams. The Los Angeles Kings had the most prospects on the list with seven while the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers each had six.

ESPN also ranked the Blackhawks pool of prospects as ninth-best in the NHL.

 

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Blackhawks make roster moves ahead of three-game road trip

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USA Today

Blackhawks make roster moves ahead of three-game road trip

The Blackhawks recalled defenseman Adam Boqvist and forward Matthew Highmore from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Monday morning before heading out on a three-game road trip. The Hawks also moved Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) to long term injured reserve, meaning he isn't eligible to return until after Christmas (Dec. 27). 

Duncan Keith (groin injury), Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol) and Shaw won't travel on the trip. Olli Maatta missed the last three games with flu-like symptoms but will go on the trip. When he gets in isn't certain.

The Blackhawks will take on the Golden Knights in Vegas on Tuesday before heading to Arizona for a Thursday rematch with the Coyotes (lost 4-3 in a shootout in Chicago on Sunday), then to St. Louis to take on the Western Conference leading and defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. 

The trip will prove to be a vital one with Hawks, 12-12-5, sitting in last place in the Central division, but only four points out of a wild card spot.

Call-ups

Boqvist has one goal in six games with Chicago this season and is excited about another stint with the Hawks.

"I think I kind of know how to play now," he said. "I got six games playing with Duncs (Duncan Keith) and Mats (Maatta). They helped me a lot as well. I know kind of what is going (on) out there now, so it's good."

The defenseman knows he'll have to contribute more offensively this time up. 

"I think I've come [back] more comfortable," Boqvist said. "I can't find the net, though, but it's good to help the team to win."

"He's done well down there," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Reports have been good and I've had a chance to watch a couple games, too. I think he continues to get better so hopefully that process continues and can continue here."

Highmore has zero points in two games with the Hawks this year. 

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Was Dennis Gilbert's Sunday scrap the right move for Blackhawks?

Was Dennis Gilbert's Sunday scrap the right move for Blackhawks?

When Blackhawks defenseman Dennis Gilbert skated after Jason Demers, hitting him into the boards, challenging him to fight and beating the doors off him in the second period with Chicago leading 3-2, he was sticking up for a teammate and trying to give the Hawks some life, but it cost them a puck in their own net.

So was it the right move?

"It is if we kill it," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the Hawks being forced to kill Gilbert's instigator penalty. "And I think it sends a good message to the rest of the players that we're in this together and we're going to take care of each other. 

"But I would have liked us to react better the rest of the game after that and that's what we should do to protect each other. I thought that the penalty kill, we were looking for goals at times and when we had the chance to get the puck 200 feet down the ice, we didn't always do that. And I'm not against scoring goals, but let's be smart about it. It cost us."

Gilbert was responding to Demers' hit on Alex DeBrincat in front of the Coyotes' bench near center ice that caused DeBrincat to fall hard into the wall.

"Well, I think it was [a] pretty blatant [penalty] that was missed," Hawks defenseman Calvin de Haan said. "Alex's head went right off the boards. I don't know how they didn't call that one. But good on Dennis to step up and sometimes it takes a big set of cajones to do that. 

"He tried to get a spark for us and I think trying to stick up for your teammates is still part of the game, especially on a hit like that. Kudos to him and I think it was a key time in the game for us and he tried to turn the tables for us."

Gilbert received the instigator for going after Demers, which resulted in a Coyotes' power-play goal from Carl Soderberg. It was Gilbert's second fight in two games. 

"I think it fires us up," DeBrincat said. "I think he’s protecting me. I think he obviously thought it was a dirty hit and takes control of the play. 

"I think it makes a good play for me. I like that he does that. Obviously, at the same time we get a penalty out of it which is not always the best. 

"I think our bench can roll with that and try to kill that off. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Any other penalty we can probably kill off from that one."

Sticking up for a teammate in that fashion goes a long way. The Hawks have been missing a player that makes the opposition answer for their sins the way Gilbert does. You'd like to avoid taking an instigator, but the Blackhawks had an issue with a dangerous hit not being penalized.

It's up to the penalty kill to make that a good penalty. Unfortunately for Gilbert and company, they didn't get the job done. 

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