With their bye week coming to an end, the Blackhawks recalled Tanner Kero and Nick Schmaltz from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Gustav Forsling and Vinnie Hinostroza remain in Rockford.
The Blackhawks opened up $477,360 in cap space by assigning those four players to the AHL during their five days off, and as of Thursday have a projected $4.19 million to spend at the trade deadline, according to CapFriendly.com.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
Schmaltz, who's been playing well on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik, has four goals and six assists in 38 games this season.
Kero has four goals and four assists in 22 games, and has done a solid job contributing in all areas on the bottom six.
The Blackhawks will return to practice on Friday before hosting the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on Saturday at 6 p.m.
On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”
There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.
In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.
As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.
Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.
The Blackhawks shared their condolences after the passing of former defenseman Bill White on Monday.
"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team's statement read. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."
White spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks — part of a nine-year NHL career — scoring 30 goals and tallying 149 assists.
He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games from 1969 to 1974 and helped the Blackhawks to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.
White also had a brief stint as the Blackhawks' head coach, manning the bench for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.