The Blackhawks added to their organizational depth Thursday, announcing the signing of forward Matthew Highmore to a three-year contract.
The move comes just one day after the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League lost their three top scorers — Spencer Abbott, Sam Carrick and Mark McNeill — after they were dealt before Wednesday's trade deadline.
Highmore is a 21-year-old undrafted free agent, and is setting career highs in his fifth season with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs.
He ranks second on the team with 32 goals, and seventh in the league with 82 points through 58 games so far this year. He also had nine goals and 11 assists in 17 playoff games a season ago.
The 5-foot-10, 187-pound forward has amassed 88 goals and 152 assists in 283 career contests with the Sea Dogs, and has been teammates with Nathan Noel, the Blackhawks' fourth-round pick in 2016, for the past four seasons.
Highmore is a known to be a two-way player, and possesses offensive skills to make an impact on both ends of the ice.
The Blackhawks losing streak extended to eight games with an overtime loss in Carolina, but there were some signs of improvement with the team. Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss Jeremy Colliton going to the “nuclear option,” pairing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the same line. It seemed to work, but how did the other lines fare?
Plus, how close are we to seeing some calls made to Rockford and how important are the next two “winnable” games?
0:45 - Mindset of the team after their 8th straight loss
2:00 - Opposition getting quality chances against hawks goalies
4:00 - Toews and Kane playing on the same line
5:00 - Nick Schmaltz needs to take more shots
5:45 - Colliton's lines during overtime
8:00 - DeBrincat playing on a line with Kampf and Kahun
9:45 - Debrincat with more goals than Kane or Roenick through 100 career games
11:45 - How close are the Blackhawks to making some callups from Rockford to give the team a boost?
14:00 - Hawks get a chance against 2 other struggling teams in Blues and Knights
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Blackhawks Talk Podcast
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It felt like the Blackhawks' seven-game losing streak was going to end Monday night.
Cam Ward was stellar in net, the Blackhawks' offense started hot and Alex DeBrincat snapped his scoring drought. In the end, though, Monday's hot-start was for all for naught.
Despite holding a 2-0 lead after the second period, the Blackhawks were outscored 3-0 the rest of the game, falling to the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. The Blackhawks have now lost eight-straight games for the second-straight season (they lost eight-straight in February 2018).
While the loss hurts, there are several positives to take from Monday's game. Cam Ward was stellar in his first start in Carolina as a visitor.
Ward, who played for the Hurricanes in his first 13 NHL seasons, made 37 saves on 40 shots. The two regulation goals that he allowed came with the Blackhawks a man-down, however.
Ward also made a huge save halfway through the third period during a 4-on-4 situation, keeping the score knotted at 2-2.
Alex DeBrincat scored his ninth goal of the season to put the Blackhawks up 2-0. Not only was the goal DeBrincat's first since Oct. 25, but it also put him in exclusive company.
Monday was DeBrincat's 100th career NHL game; his 37 goals in those 100 games matches Artemi Panarin and Eric Daze through their first 100 games with the Blackhawks.
And while a loss is still a loss, the Blackhawks picked up a point for the first time since Oct. 28. There's always some positives, right?