The Chicago Blackhawks have been shuffling up the youngsters on their roster in recent weeks, and on Friday they made another move as they sent Spencer Abbott and Gustav Forsling down to Rockford.
Forsling, who has played in 32 games with the Blackhawks this season, has been in and out of the lineup as head coach Joel Quenneville has been trying to get all eight of his defensemen involved, and Friday’s move was expected in order to get him more playing time. He has one goal and three assists so far this season, but played just over 10 minutes on Thursday and didn’t make much of an impact in a win over the Buffalo Sabres.
The defenseman has earned plenty of praise from Quenneville this season, as the Blackhawks’ coach has compared him to a young Niklas Hjamarsson, but at just 20 years of age the team likely feels that he needs a bit more playing time to fully develop as a blue liner.
The big question was whether Forsling would accept an AHL assignment, given that he had a clause in his contract that he had to be on the opening day roster or he would be allowed to return to Sweden, but apparently all issues have been worked out and Forsling plans to report to the IceHogs.
As for Abbott, he was sent down after just one game with the team. He started out on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, but was demoted to bottom six duty after two periods of play, and he didn’t make much of an impact offensively against the Sabres.
Fortunately for Abbott, he does have one thing to look forward to: he was named an AHL Central Division All-Star on Thursday afternoon.
With the demotions, the Blackhawks now have 21 players on their active roster, with 12 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders.