The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Chicago Blackhawks are essentially a brand-new team. Departed are some beloved faces that will be sorely missed. Moving forward, a handful of the original players and quite the assortment of new players will finish out the 2022-23 season. Make no mistake; this is not a very good roster. By design, general manager Kyle Davidson traded most of his current assets for future draft picks. What’s left behind isn’t exactly pretty.
But the show must go on, and this current team is playing for their pride. Head coach Luke Richardson will do his best to mold this rag-tag group into a respectable squad to finish out the season. Many fans have already lost interest, but the diehards will be watching in an attempt to glean any positives they can.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with all the changes. So, let’s dissect this current Blackhawks’ roster and get to know some new faces along the way.
Original Players Still With the Blackhawks
I’m sure it’s tough for the players that have been with the Blackhawks since the beginning of the season. Sure, they knew the rebuilding plan all along. But they certainly didn’t have to like it. The Blackhawks weren’t a very good team to begin with. But they bonded and pulled together and played for each other. They impressed many by playing their butts off and making the most of their situation.
Now they essentially have to start all over again, with an even worse team. That said, what choice do they have but to carry on? I’m sure these guys will do their best to lead the way and help the new players along. Here’s who’s left from the Blackhawks’ roster at the beginning of the season.
- Andreas Athanasiou, No. 89
- Colin Blackwell, No. 43
- Jason Dickinson, No. 17
- MacKenzie Entwistle, No. 58
- *Reese Johnson, No. 52 (concussion)
- Tyler Johnson, No. 90
- Boris Katchouk, No. 14
- Jujhar Khaira, No. 16
- Philipp Kurashev, No. 23
- Taylor Raddysh, No. 11
- *Jonathan Toews, No. 19 (illness)
As we know, Toews currently isn’t playing as he struggles with health issues due to long-COVID. His future with the Blackhawks is unclear. R. Johnson is also currently on injured reserve with a concussion. Athanasiou, Raddysh and Dickinson were all rumored to be on the trade market, but deals never came to fruition. T. Johnson is currently the veteran of this bunch at 32 years old, and having won two Stanley Cups with the Lightning.
NOBODY in this remaining forward group is signed with the Blackhawks beyond the 2024-25 season. Although there are a few players, such as Kurashev and Entwistle, that could easily be considered part of the longer future with the team.
- Caleb Jones, No. 82
- Seth Jones, No. 4
- Connor Murphy, No. 5
- Jarred Tinordi, No. 25
The losses of Jake McCabe and Jack Johnson at the deadline left big holes on the back end. But some reinforcements were picked up in trades (more on this below), and the Blackhawks’ prospect pool is deep on defense. That said, look for a lot of turnover in this area over the next few seasons. The organization will be determining who will fit in their system, and who they want to commit to.
In the meantime, some of the longest tenured players are from the Blackhawks’ blue line.
With Jonathan Toews not playing, here are your longest tenured #Blackhawks by games played:
Connor Murphy, 354 games
Philipp Kurashev, 181
Seth Jones, 129
Mackenzie Entwistle, 106
Caleb Jones, 103
Reese Johnson, 88
Taylor Raddysh, 82
Ian Mitchell, 71
— John Dietz (@JDietzSports) March 3, 2023
Geez, Murphy beats the second tenured player by 173 games! It’s hard to believe the Dublin, OH native has been with the Blackhawks for six years, and he’s signed for the next three seasons beyond this one. If Toews is unable to return in the foreseeable future, could Murphy be another option for the Blackhawks’ captain? Many feel Seth Jones (signed for the next six seasons) is the logical choice here. Both bring their own special brand of leadership to the team.
- Petr Mrazek, No. 34
- Alex Stalock, No. 32
Mrazek and Stalock are both veteran goaltenders that were signed at the beginning of the season, basically to hold down the fort in this rebuilding year. They’ve each done an admirable job, although they have both dealt with injuries along the way.
Because of that, prospect netminders Arvid Soderblom and Jaxson Stauber have had been given some starts to prove themselves at the NHL level. Both have surpassed expectations. Needless to say, the future looks bright for the Blackhawks in net.
Rockford IceHogs Reinforcements
Before we get to the newest additions acquired in trade deadline transactions, let’s touch on some of the players given a shot from the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.
- Cole Guttman, No. 70
- Lukas Reichel, No. 27
A handful of forwards have been called up this season; namely Brett Seney, Luke Philp and David Gust. But it appears Guttman is the one that’s going to stick. The 23-year-old played his first NHL game on Feb. 15. He was thrown right into the fire centering T. Johnson and Raddysh on the second line. 10 games later, Guttman has three goals to his name, and a 52.1 faceoff percentage. The Northridge, CA native is the only IceHog that was NOT sent back down to Rockford as of Mar. 3, making him ineligible for the AHL playoffs. The organization apparently has decided they want to keep Guttman up with the big club for the rest of the season.
Reichel, on the other hand, was included in a paper transaction re-assignment to Rockford. It’s expected he will be an integral member of IceHogs’ playoffs, although for the time being he will stay with the Blackhawks. When he gets sent back down is yet to be determined. The 20-year-old top prospect has currently participated in six games with the Blackhawks, contributing one goal and three assists. His most recent deployment has been playing wing on the top line with Kurashev and Athanasiou.
Isaak Phillips played in 16 games with the Blackhawks this season, contributing one goal and four assists. But he was returned to the farm team on Mar. 3 as well, to eventually help them in the postseason.
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It’s Mitchell that will remain with the Blackhawks. This makes sense, seeing as Mitchell is 24 years old and officially in his third season with the club. It’s make it or break it time for Mitchell. His one goal and five points and a minus-11 in 24 games leaves a lot to be desired. He was also scratched for the most recent contest. Can Mitchell prove he has a place with this team?
New Blackhawks’ Players
Finally, let’s get to the meat of the trade deadline moves and discuss the newest additions to the team. These are the players we need to have cheat sheets on moving forward. We’ll start with the forwards.
- Joey Anderson, No. 15 (acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Jake McCabe/Sam Lafferty trade)
- Anders Bjork, No. 24 (acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for future considerations)
- Austin Wagner (acquired from LA Kings for future considerations)
Anderson has the longest tenure of the new forwards; he’s suited up for four games since being acquired on Feb. 27. Previously, he played in 14 games with the Maple Leafs this season, and 30 contests with their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. The 24-year-old will be looking to get more of an NHL opportunity with the Blackhawks. So far, he’s been deployed on the fourth line.
Bjork, from the Sabres, is known for his speed. This is fitting because he inherited Sam Lafferty’s No. 24 jersey. Coach Richardson recently spoke about what the 26-year-old winger brings to the team.
— CHGO Blackhawks (@CHGO_Blackhawks) March 4, 2023
Bjork made his debut with the Blackhawks against the Nashville Predators on Mar. 4. He lined up on the third line with Dickinson and Entwistle.
Left winger Wagner comes to the Blackhawks from the LA Kings, although he has yet to join the team. The 25-year-old hails from Calgary, Alberta, and has played this season with the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. We shall see where he fits in as soon as he’s available.
- Andreas Englund, No. 28 (acquired from the Colorado Avalanche for Jack Johnson)
- Nikita Zaitsev, No. 22 (acquired from Ottawa Senators for future considerations)
Englund is a 27-year-old defenseman that established himself as an NHL player in 36 games with the Avalanche this season. But the defending champions determined they wanted the experience of the veteran Jack Johnson instead for another push for the Cup. Englund is a 6-foot-3 Swedish native that is well-known for his physicality. In four games with the Blackhawks, he’s already doled out 15 hits.
Zaitsev was one of the first Blackhawks’ transactions revolving around the trade deadline, but he was delayed joining the team due to Visa issues. Like Bjork, Zaitev played on Mar. 4 for his debut with the Blackhawks. He was deployed on the third defensive pairing alongside Englund. The Russian defenseman was mostly acquired to take his $4.5 million cap hit (for this season and the next) off the Senators books in exchange for second and fourth round draft picks.
- Anton Khudobin (acquired from the Dalla Stars in the Max Domi trade)
I mention Khudobin because he’s a veteran netminder with 13 years of NHL experience under his belt. As with Zaitev, the Blackhawks took on Khudobin’s $3.3 million cap hit to help the Stars clear up cap space (and in exchange for a 2025 second-round draft pick). Khudobin will report to the IceHogs, but we could see him down the stretch with the Blackhawks if Mrazek or Stalock suffer more injuries. This way, the young netminders Soderblom and Stalock can both benefit from the IceHogs expected playoff push.
This is all a lot to digest, and I hope it will help you in the coming days and weeks as you continue to follow the Blackhawks. Trade deadline moves gutted the team, and this is who’s left for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.
There might not be a lot of winning as the season winds down. But look for Richardson and the rest of the coaching staff to get what they can out of this group. If nothing else, hopefully they can continue to strive for a positive culture of growth and development as we await the outcome of the draft lottery.