Hagel, who was called up last week by the team, did not appear in a game for the Blackhawks during his stint at the NHL level. With Brandon Saad back in the lineup, Hagel wasn’t able to crack the starting 12, and the IceHogs’ leading goal-scorer will head back to Rockford to continue working on his offensive game in the weeks to come.
With Slater Koekkoek playing some of his best hockey of the season, the Blackhawks have been listing Gilbert as a healthy scratch often in recent games. The defenseman has a goal and two assists in 20 games with the Blackhawks so far this season, and he has not appeared in a game since Jan. 7, missing the team’s last six games.
The roster moves come as the Blackhawks edge closer to the NHL All-Star break and their bye week. The club will play its final game of the pre-All-Star slate on Tuesday when they welcome the Florida Panthers to town, and then will have a break until Feb. 1 when the season resumes against the Arizona Coyotes.
Sending down Gilbert and Hagel will allow both players to get extended playing time for the IceHogs, who have four games on their schedule during the Blackhawks’ All-Star break and bye week. Both will likely be in uniform Monday for Rockford as they take on Belleville in an afternoon matinee contest.