The NHL lockout has yet to come to its official end, as the new collective bargaining agreement still needs to be ratified, but that hasn’t stopped teams from pulling players off of their farm squads and bringing them in to get started on preparing for the new season.
The Chicago Blackhawks have already seen a few members of the Rockford Icehogs make the jump over to Chicago, almost a week before training camps are expected to begin. And there could be a few more on their way not too long from now.
As of right now, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, and Nick Leddy, as well as Brandon Bollig have all made their way to the Windy City to begin informal skates with the Hawks that are already there.
Big things are expected of Shaw, who was a rookie sensation for the team last year. His season in Rockford was a bit of a shaky one, due to multiple suspensions. We’ll have to see if he can toe the line and play with an edge and not over it as he heads back to the top level.
Kruger and Leddy are also expected to play key roles. Kruger could be a candidate to take over as the second line center, unless the team plans on mistakenly using Patrick Kane at that spot again. Leddy will once again patrol the blue line as the no. 3 defenseman for the Hawks.
Expect Bollig, at this point, to be a press box regular, a la John Scott. He proved that he can be effective with his fists, but not much else beyond that.
Those four aren’t the only Icehogs that should be making their way to the top club in the near future. We could, and likely should, see names like Ben Smith and Jimmy Hayes making their way up soon, potentially along with Brandon Saad at some point in the near future. Stay tuned.