Ahead of tonight's game against the Nashville Predators, the Chicago Blackhawks made a series of roster moves.
Ian Mitchell, Lucas Carlsson, Wyatt Kalynuk, Reese Johnson, and MacKenzie Entwistle will head to the AHL Rockford IceHogs as Brandon Pirri, Mikael Hakkarainen, and Alec Regula get the call to the taxi squad.
Mitchell is the most surprising name included in this group. The rookie defenseman has played in all but two Blackhawks games so far this season. Mitchell has posted two goals, two assists, and a -7 rating while averaging 15:16 TOI over 32 games. As they did with MacKenzie Entwistle earlier in the week, perhaps the Blackhawks are just trying to give another young player a chance to show what they have to offer at the NHL level. On the other hand, it could just be another case of roster shuffling. Several players have moved between Rockford and the taxi squad at various points so far this season.
Of the players recalled from Rockford to the taxi squad, Alec Regula is the only defenseman. He may be a candidate to replace Mitchell in the Blackhawks lineup tonight, but we will have to wait and see because Jeremy Colliton did not disclose his personnel group for the contest vs. Nashville after today's morning skate. Madison Bowey or Nicolas Beaudin are the more likely options to fill in for Mitchell, however. Bowey has skated in two games and Beaudin has played in 12 contests for the Blackhawks this season while Regula has yet to make his NHL debut.
Could these moves also potentially be a tool to clear space for Kirby Dach's return to the lineup tonight? The Blackhawks have not officially activated Dach yet, but he was working with the team's first power play unit during morning skate.
Once again, we won't know for sure until closer to game time.