PRAGUE — The Blackhawks have their seven defensemen locked in for Opening Day, but they lost one on Tuesday when Carl Dahlstrom was claimed by the Winnipeg Jets.
With Slater Koekkoek winning the seventh defenseman spot, Dahlstrom was placed on waivers by the Blackhawks on Monday morning and was expected to be assigned to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs if he cleared. Instead, the Jets — who most notably lost defensemen Ben Chiarot, Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba this offseason, along with the uncertainty surrounding Dustin Byfuglien — took a flyer on the 24-year-old Swedish blue liner as they look to patch up their depth.
Dahlstrom was among the NHL’s defensemen leaders in defensive zone starts last season, but the Blackhawks don’t like sitting two defensemen every night and both Dahlstrom and Koekkoek couldn’t be sent down without having to go through waivers. It ended up being Dahlstrom, with the final 23-man rosters due on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks, it’s already a crowded blue line in Rockford with Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Dennis Gilbert and Chad Krys all likely to play top-four roles so organizationally this doesn’t hurt them too much.