With the regular season just five days away, the Chicago Blackhawks made several roster moves on Friday as they sent down some of their top prospects.
Headlining the list is Marko Dano, whom the team acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Brandon Saad swap. Dano impressed coaches and fans during training camp, but his preseason performances weren’t quite up to snuff, and the team has opted to send him down to Rockford for more seasoning.
The Blackhawks also sent down Vincent Hinostroza (who had an excellent game in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday), Brandon Mashinter, Dennis Rasmussen, and Garret Ross. Defensemen Erik Gustafsson and Ville Pokka have also been demoted to Rockford.
Dano's demotion is surely performance based to a degree, but it's also a reflection of how well Kyle Baun has played. Both players can be sent down to Rockford without having to clear waivers, so the Blackhawks went with the hot hand as they prepare for the regular season.
The moves leave the Blackhawks with 13 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders on the roster. The deadline to finalize the regular season roster comes next week, and by that date the Hawks will likely jettison one goaltender (Michael Leighton) and at least two defensemen as they look to carry 22 or 23 players on the roster.