The Chicago Blackhawks, as well as the rest of the NHL, have just entered Phase 3 of Return to Play. This means that training camp has officially begun, with Chicago resuming on July 13. With the season so close to restarting, the attention has been focused on the rosters. When it comes to the Blackhawks’ roster, there has been no news shortage as it pertains to where the players stand. Let’s catch up on the latest:
Right now, goaltender Corey Crawford is the Blackhawks’ biggest question mark. He was one of the players that didn’t show up to the optional workouts during Phase 2. Now, he is the only player on the team that did not report to training camp.
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Back in 2018, the Blackhawks changed their policy on injuries. The policy allows them to disclose injury specifics as opposed to the generic “upper-body” or “lower-body” injury responses. However, that transparency does not apply during these times. The NHL announced, as part of the deal for resuming the season, that teams cannot disclose the reasons behind player absences to protect their privacy. Instead, teams can only say ‘not fit to play’ or ‘unable to practice’.
In Crawford’s case, all head coach Jeremy Colliton could say was that he is unfit to play. Colliton didn’t have any other details on if we can expect Crawford to return or if he is going to opt out of the season. If he opts out, it would be completely understandable. From a hockey standpoint, it’s hard to see how the team will fare against the Edmonton Oilers, and beyond, without him. Now, it’s up to the other goalies in the system to strut their stuff. It should be a pretty good competition with Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen, and Matt Tomkins.
Right-wing Andrew Shaw has had a tough go of it injury-wise. He suffered a concussion back in 2018 when he was with the Montreal Canadiens and he sustained one again less than a year later. In December, the Blackhawks placed him on long-term injured reserve. It wasn’t expected that he would try to play when the season resumed, but instead, he posted a statement on Instagram to give an update on his status.
Concussions are not to be taken lightly, so it’s great to hear Shaw is recovering well. We hope that he comes back better and stronger next season!
Free Agent Target
Scott Powers, the Blackhawks writer for The Athletic, stated that the team is apparently in the mix to sign a forward from Europe – Pius Suter (from ‘Looking abroad again: Blackhawks expected to be in mix for Swiss Forward’, The Athletic, 07/13/2020). Suter is a 24-year-old center/left wing from Switzerland and played for the ZSC Lions team there. He is becoming a hot commodity because he led the Swiss National League in points.
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In 50 games this season, Suter had 30 goals, 23 assists, 53 points, and was a plus-23. A player like him makes sense for the Blackhawks. Because of the salary cap remaining stagnant at $81.5 million, they’re going to have to get creative to save money. Some forwards may be on the outs like Brandon Saad or Drake Caggiula. Generally, the club also needs to replenish their forward pipeline. It would be great news if this signing came to fruition.
Keith’s Social Media
Lastly, one fun thing to come out of the season hiatus was that defenseman Duncan Keith became the king of social media. As far as Keith’s social media presence, it had been pretty non-existent. Before the pause, he only had 10 Instagram posts in the manner of four years. He has now had 14 posts in the span of two months. Here is an excerpt about what Keith had to say about it:
At the end of the day, I think fans want to see that side of a player. If we can help keep hockey on the map and grow the game and those types of things, I think that’s a good thing. It’s been fun more than anything.Duncan Keith
As training camp continues, look to hear more about updates from the roster, new dates of upcoming events, and more!