Blackhawks

Dale Weise looking to make a 'good impression' with Blackhawks

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Dale Weise looking to make a 'good impression' with Blackhawks

BOSTON – Dale Weise sounded like a guy who was ready to suit up for the Blackhawks the moment they traded for him.

Unfortunately visa issues kept him from doing that, and the nearly week long wait to join his new team wasn’t fun. Once he finally got in on Thursday, however, all that was forgotten.

“I’m just happy to jump into a game right now,” Weise said. “You want to come in and make a good impression. I’m not trying to do anything special. This team’s at the top of the league for a reason and I’m just trying to come in and do what I can to help this team win.”

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Weise is one of two forwards the Blackhawks acquired to help bolster their roster depth. While Weise started on the fourth line on Thursday, he ended up on the third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Tomas Fleischmann, who also came here through the trade with the Montreal Canadiens. One figures he’ll get an extended look with that group, considering his familiarity with Fleischmann in Montreal.

“He’s just such a smart player. He’s got really underrated skill. I’m more of a shooter, he’s more of a passer, so it’s a good combination,” Weise said of Fleischmann, who got two games in before Weise got here. “Obviously he got here quicker than I did, so I had a couple questions. We just briefly talked about it. He just said get excited: this is a fun team to play on. They play fast. I think that’s perfect for my style.”

Weise left a tempestuous situation in Montreal. All started well for the Canadiens this season – they got off to a 9-0-0 record – but then things started going wrong. Carey Price got hurt and the Canadiens began to struggle, and they never got themselves out of the tailspin. Weise figured he would be dealt at the deadline, but hearing the trade talk wasn’t easy.

[MORE: Corey Crawford honored by Team Canada selection]

“I’ve never been in a situation like that before where my contract was expiring and there was trade rumors. I’d never really been a part of that. That was different for me,” Weise said. “The team was struggling. It was frustrating. I kind of saw it coming toward the end, so I kind of got prepared for that and I got traded to Chicago and there’s no other place I’d rather go.”

It took a little time for Weise to get here but he still has more than enough regular-season games to adjust. The Blackhawks need some players to bring more to their third and fourth lines. Weise is hoping to provide that.

“This is the best team in the league right now,” Weise said. “I’m just excited to see what I can bring.”

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Anton Forsberg cleared waivers on Tuesday morning and was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League.

That's good news for the Blackhawks organizational depth chart, with Forsberg as the No. 3 in goal. But it also complicates things in Rockford, where Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen have been sharing the duties.

Delia is 3-1-0 with a 3.26 goals against average and .910 save percentage while Lankinen is 0-1-1 with a 3.39 GAA and .825 save percentage. Perhaps the most likely scenario is Lankinen gets sent to the ECHL with the Indy Fuel while Delia and Forsberg split the load in Rockford.

It's certainly a good problem to have, but it's still unclear how that dynamic will play out.

"We haven’t talked about that," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we expect [Forsberg] to play."

Luke Johnson recalled

With a spot opening up on the 23-man roster, Johnson is being brought back up after he was squeezed out by Corey Crawford's return. He had a goal and an assist in two games with Rockford.

Brandon Saad returns to top-six role

After turning in arguably his best performance of the season on Sunday, Saad is back playing on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. He had seven shot attempts (three on goal) against Tampa Bay and led the team in 5-on-5 possession numbers.

"[Saad] is coming off a game where we liked what we saw," Quenneville said. "Playing with Kaner can help him get going."

Nick Schmaltz to play right side for first time in NHL career

Eight games into the season and Schmaltz has spent time at both center and left wing. Now he'll get a look on the right side with Alexandre Fortin on the left and David Kampf centering the third line.

Part of the reason for Schmaltz’s move to the right side was because Quenneville said they like Fortin on the left. It's not unfamiliar territory for Schmaltz, but could take some time getting used to.

"I played a little while back, not sure when," Schmaltz said "Just a little bit different. Catching pucks on your forehand now instead of your backhand. It's not a huge adjustment, just play with speed and compete hard and hopefully the skill on our line will take over."

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

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AP

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

The Blackhawks have said all along that they don't plan on carrying three goaltenders, but wanted to do so during the three games in four days stretch just in case, with Corey Crawford coming back from a 10-month layoff because of a concussion.

After being encouraged by how Crawford has responded to his return, the Blackhawks placed goaltender Anton Forsberg on waivers Monday morning. Teams have 24 hours to put in a claim for the 25-year-old goaltender and would have to keep him on their NHL roster for 10 games and/or 30 days before he's eligible to go through the waiver process again.

His chances of getting claimed by any of the other 30 teams essentially depends on which teams believe Forsberg would be an immediate upgrade over their current backup — or starter, for that matter — or whether there's an injury to one of the team's two goaltenders that requires a placeholder, like we saw the Carolina Hurricanes do by claiming Curtis McElhinney from the Toronto Maple Leafs after Scott Darling's injury in the preseason.

If Forsberg goes unclaimed, the Blackhawks can assign him to the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs. With Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen sharing the goaltending duties in Rockford, it's possible Lankinen gets sent to the Indy Fuel in the ECHL to get consistent starts under his belt.

A third option, one that isn't very common but we've seen in the past as recently as last October with Maple Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, is that Forsberg can be loaned to any AHL team while still being a part of the Blackhawks organization. This would allow the Blackhawks to keep Delia and Lankinen in Rockford while Forsberg gets his starts in the AHL, too.

Or, the Blackhawks could simply trade Forsberg to another NHL team that could stash him in the AHL, as long as he clears waivers. They did it last season with Chris DiDomenico, who cleared waivers as a member of the Ottawa Senators but was then traded to Chicago for Ville Pokka days later. Had DiDomenico been claimed by the Blackhawks, he would have had to stay on the NHL roster as noted above.

Forsberg was 10-16-4 with a 2.97 goals against average and .908 save percentage in 35 appearances last season but has not appeared in a game yet this year. He was acquired as part of the Brandon Saad package for Artemi Panarin in June 2017.