Blackhawks

Gustav Forsling gets another opportunity with Blackhawks

Gustav Forsling gets another opportunity with Blackhawks

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Gustav Forsling was set to return to Chicago for the weekend, make a quick stop back at his apartment during his stay with the Rockford IceHogs. Instead, he ended up on a West Coast flight to join the Blackhawks.

"This was a great surprise," Forsling said.

Forsling was recalled on Sunday and is likely to play when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks needed to bolster their defense as they hit the road for the next six games. Michal Rozsival, who was placed on injured reserve on Sunday, will likely be out 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury according to coach Joel Quenneville. Rozsival was likely hurt blocking a shot at Thursday’s practice at Johnny's Ice House West. Forsling had a goal and four assists in 11 games with the IceHogs.

Rockford coach Ted Dent, asked about Forsling not long after the young defenseman joined the IceHogs, like what Forsling was bringing.

"Just a presence of poise for us back there as far as with the puck, being able to make plays under pressure, not panic and really generate offense and join the rush off the back end," Dent said. "He's smart enough and sees the ice well where he can make plays quick, which you have to at this and the NHL level. He also realizes the AHL isn't that big of a step down. The higher end players at this level can compete in the NHL for the most part; they're just looking for the opportunity. He said it's a fast league down here, and that's good. Because we want him to play at a fast pace so when he goes back up, he’s at a high level."

Coach Joel Quenneville is looking to see if the stint in Rockford has the desired effect on Forsling's game.

"Certainly [he was] playing in all situations. The more ice time you get the better you feel. The more situations you see your instincts get a little bit quicker. But that's what our intensions were, to get him playing and feeling all situations, and we trust he can do the same up here as well," Quenneville said. "He has a lot of upside to his game that we want to see and hopefully we get to see it quickly here."

Briefly

  • The Blackhawks' all-stars (Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane) did not practice on Monday but all are expected to play Tuesday against the Sharks.
  • Marcus Kruger and Artem Anisimov missed Monday's practice due to illness. Quenneville said he's not sure on the forwards' status for Tuesday's game.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.