Andrew Shaw ended the preseason in style for the Chicago Blackhawks, who won their final preseason tilt against the team they will face in the regular season opener, the Washington Capitals. But when the game was over, the hard work began for the front office team of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Blackhawks announced today that they will be sending goaltender Antti Raanta back to AHL Rockford, where he will be the starting goaltender. That means Corey Crawford will be plenty recovered from the soreness that kept him out of Saturday’s game, and the only remaining injury concerns are Michal Handzus and Marian Hossa.
Recalled to Rockford were both Jeremy Morin and center Brandon Pirri, both of whom had a definite possibility to make the roster go up in smoke as the preseason wore on. Morin and Pirri will not be joined in Rockford by Kyle Beach, who was loaned to Swedish team SV71 to replace one of their injured players. It is unclear how long Beach will remain, but Morin is likely the replacement healthy scratch winger while Pirri will be on call depending on the health of Handzus.
On the defensive side of the puck, coach Joel Quenneville will go on with his plan of carrying eight defensemen. The final spot came down to Ryan Stanton and Michael Kostka, who was luckily not severely injured on a boarding penalty he suffered in the first game of the preseason.
Kostka is a versatile defenseman who split time as a forward this preseason and has more NHL experience than Stanton. Despite not netting a NHL goal yet, Kostka has eight assists in 35 games. The Blackhawks love defensemen putting pucks on net, and Kostka’s versatility should fit in quite nicely.
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