On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that forward Brandon Hagel will be out for two weeks. Hagel suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday's win over the Nashville Predators. In addition, the Blackhawks announced that forward Tyler Johnson and defenseman Isaak Phillips have returned from COVID-19 protocol.
Hagel has been an important part of the Blackhawks roster both in 2021 and now in 2021-22. After missing Tuesday's win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, fans have now learned the extent of the forward's absence. Although short (five games in the next 14 days), Hagel's absence will certainly force other players to step up in the lineup.
In addition to the Hagel news, the Blackhawks received good news on the COVID-19 front. Tyler Johnson and Isaak Phillips returning from COVID-19 protocol supplements the team's depth amid numerous absences.
Johnson has three points (one goal, two assists) in eight games as a member of the Blackhawks. The 31-year-old center came over in the trade that sent Brent Seabrook's contract to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With his return, the hope is that he can make a meaningful impact on the scoresheet.
As for Phillips, his time in the NHL is likely done for now with the defense getting healthy. With Wyatt Kalynuk and Caleb Jones' returns on the horizon, Phillips will likely return to his top-four defensive role with the Rockford IceHogs. The 2020 fifth-round pick is better served playing meaningful minutes in Rockford than limited minutes in the NHL. Phillips has only played in three games with the Hawks this season. In those games, the 20-year-old is averaging fewer than 11 minutes per night.
The Blackhawks return to action on Friday, November 12 against the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. The Blackhawks will look to extend their first winning streak of the season to three games with a win on Friday.