Dylan Olsen had enough reason to celebrate Tuesday night, his 21st birthday. Then the Chicago Blackhawks gave him another present.The defenseman Olsen was called up by the Blackhawks, and forward Andrew Shaw was added to the active roster and recalled also, late Tuesday. The two were brought up as the Blackhawks have finally run into some injury issues; defenseman Steve Montador (upper body) and forward Marcus Kruger (concussion) were placed on injured reserve on Wednesday.Both will make their NHL debuts Thursday against the Philadephia Flyers.It should be exciting (for Shaw) to play in his first NHL game. Hes one of those guys who can do a lot of things for us. Hes smart, can score goals and can play hard, coach Joel Quenneville said. (Olsen) looked good in practice and played well in our preseason games. With the depth of our organization, its something wanted to give a try.The call-ups were great news for both young players, especially for the birthday boy.Its incredible. I couldnt ask for a better birthday present, said Olsen, who was paired with veteran defenseman Sean ODonnell at Wednesdays practice. Im happy to be back up here with the pro guys and hopefully Ill get in the lineup tomorrow. Hopefully Ill have a good game.Olsen was injured the first part of training camp. That, coupled with the fact the Blackhawks had eight defensemen already, meant there was no room for Olsen on the big-clubs roster. But Olsen said hes used his time wisely in Rockford and is ready for his NHL test.Im just working on the little things, shooting the puck, passing and gap control, said Olsen. Its been going well so obviously its paying off when I get the call-up. Ill keep doing my job and hopefully stay up here as long as I can.ODonnell said Olsen was catching on quickly.I just like to see a guy who comes up get the drills quickly. You didnt have to tell him things more than once. He looked in place, ODonnell said. For his first practice, he was real solid.Shaw got a double dose of good news too, getting the call up not long after he signed his new three-year deal.Weve been talking about this deal for the last two weeks, so when I signed it the other morning, a couple hours later I got the call, Shaw said. It was the most exciting day of my life.Shaw, who was on the top line with Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews at practice, brings that sandpaper quality that the Blackhawks will miss with Daniel Carcillos absence. He also has a scoring touch. Shaw has 12 goals with the Rockford IceHogs this season and had a career-high 54 points (including 22 goals) with the Owen Sound Attack the previous season.The 20-year-old is understandably excited to play with his linemates.Oh yeah, Im a little nervous. Its only practice so I can imagine what (Thursdays) game is going to be like, Shaw said. Ill just go to the net with a stick on the ice and good things will happen. Im going to be nervous, but theyre great players and theyll make great plays and make me look good.
On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis react to the trade of Artem Anisimov to the Senators for Zack Smith. The guys discuss the role Smith could have with the Hawks and the areas where he has an edge over Anisimov.
They also discuss the first couple days of Development Camp and how this year’s top two draft picks — Kirby Dach and Alex Vlasic — have looked so far. Plus, a breakdown of the other top blue-liners and how Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin and Chad Krys have progressed and why they agree with Ian Mitchell’s decision to return to Denver for his junior year.
0:35 – Initial reaction to Anisimov/Smith trade
2:02 – Smith adds faceoff and penalty kill abilities
3:38 – Candidates for bottom-six center spots
4:57 – Edge a common theme among new Blackhawks
6:08 – Alex Nylander’s presence at Development Camp
8:20 – Kirby Dach has an open door to a roster spot
10:38 – Alex Vlasic holding his own against Dach
11:46 – Adam Boqvist wants to play in the NHL now
13:23 – Were Blackhawks recent moves scripted before NHL Draft?
15:28 – Ian Mitchell’s decision to return to college
18:57 – Young defenseman make decisions tough down the road
20:21 – Keeping an eye on Philipp Kurashev at camp
21:20 – Is Stan Bowman done making moves?
22:34 – Salary cap outlook with DeBrincat/Strome extensions coming
Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.
Blackhawks Talk Podcast
Here are several thoughts and takeaways from Day 2 of Blackhawks development camp at Fifth Third Arena:
1. Why Alex Nylander wanted to be at camp
The Blackhawks invited 37 prospects to development camp. Only one of them has NHL experience and that's Nylander, who was a late addition after he was acquired from Buffalo for Henri Jokiharju.
Nylander has been one of the standouts so far, and rightfully so. He's supremely gifted and is ahead of the curve in comparison to some of the other prospects attending. But he's behind on his own development curve, and the Blackhawks wanted to see him on the ice this week because he's going to be one of the players in the mix for an everyday roster spot when training camp rolls around.
While it may have been unexpected to see Nylander's name on the prospect camp list because it feels like he's been around forever, he was all for getting a headstart despite not participating in the Sabres' development camp the week after the NHL Draft.
"I mean, I just got traded here," Nylander said. "I wanted to meet everybody and get on the ice. It’s been a couple of months since I was on the ice, so I thought it was a great opportunity for me to come here, show what I’ve done in training through the summer and I can get even better toward training camp. I just didn’t need to go to Buffalo’s camp."
2. Ripple effects of Artem Anisimov trade
The Blackhawks made a trade in the middle of camp on Tuesday, with Anisimov going to Ottawa in exchange for power forward Zack Smith. It's a move that cleared $1.3 million in cap space for the Blackhawks, but also opened the door for somebody to snatch up that third-line center role.
Kirby Dach, anyone?
GM Stan Bowman mentioned Ryan Carpenter, David Kampf, Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith as guys who have experience playing center but didn't single anyone out as a potential leading candidate to fill Anisimov's shoes in the third-line center role. One of those four figures to secure the fourth-line center position, which will likely be Carpenter or Kampf — perhaps we could see situational faceoffs between them with Carpenter a right-handed shot and Kampf a lefty.
It truly does feel like the third-line center position is up for grabs, and the Blackhawks don't seem to mind it that way. Bowman said Dach could very well be part of the group, and it's difficult not to wonder whether the No. 3 overall pick has a fair chance of making it.
"We have quite a few potential options there to play in the middle," Bowman said. "It’s hard to map out some lines and who is going to be in what spot but I think we have different looks that we can throw at the other team. Part of training camp is going to be to find out where does everybody fit and which combinations work best."
— Chris Kunitz has been sitting with the Blackhawks front office contingent observing camp. He hasn't announced what his future holds, but if he's ready to call it quits on his playing career, it wouldn't be surprising to see the organization bring him on in some capacity.
— Alexis Gravel made his camp debut on Tuesday. He did not participate in on-ice sessions on Monday because he wasn't medically cleared to do so.
— Tim Soderlund was listed on the prospect camp roster but has been absent for the first two days because of visa issues. It's unclear whether that will get resolved before camp wraps up on Friday.