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.
Host Pat Boyle is joined by Hawks insider Charlie Roumeliotis, and NBCS Chicago producer Slavko Bekovic as they debate the nuclear line of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, have the Hawks found their identity as a team, predictions for the next few games as the Hawks head to the bye week.
(1:00) - Hawks forced to use Kane and Toews on the same line
(6:15) - Dominik Kubalik is doing well with Kane and Toews
(9:55) - Colliton doesn't have a healthy roster right now
(14:12) - What is the identity of this team?
(17:18) - Maybe the Hawks have a chance at a Wildcard spot
(20:24) - Kirby Dach is getting opportunities on the power play
(23:48) - How will the Hawks play vs the Panthers and Joel Quenneville?
(26:30) - Predictions on the next few games
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
The Blackhawks announced Thursday that they have placed forward Dylan Strome on injured reserve with a right ankle injury, retroactive to Jan. 7. In a corresponding move, forward Brandon Hagel was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League and will join the team in Toronto ahead of Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs.
Strome was originally listed as "day to day" with a right ankle sprain, but it appears he needs some extra time to recover despite skating in Chicago over the past few days. The Blackhawks have three games remaining before the NHL All-Star break and, at this point, it looks unlikely Strome will return before that.
Head coach Jeremy Colliton did tell reporters in Montreal on Wednesday that Brandon Saad could join the team in Toronto depending on how he's responding to the skating sessions, but whether he plays is a different story. By making a corresponding move, the Blackhawks remain at 22 players and have room for one more spot on the 23-man roster.
Saad has been sidelined since Dec. 16 with a right ankle injury and must be activated from injured reserve whenever he's cleared to return.
Hagel has been a bright spot in Rockford this season and will likely make his NHL debut on Saturday. He leads the IceHogs with 13 goals and ranks second on the team with 21 points and 80 shots on goal in 38 games. He's a hard-working player, is physical and can finish around the net, which is something the Blackhawks could always use more of.
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