The Chicago Sun-Times Mark Lazerus writes that defenseman Gustav Forsling could be sticking around with the Hawks for a little bit longer. The 20-year-old was paired with Brian Campbell during the Hawks’ 2-0 loss against Pittsburgh, and might be a great fill-in should Duncan Keith not be able to play when Chicago expects him to. Lazerus notes that head coach Joel Quenneville has carried as many as eight defensemen in the past, so holding onto the “kid” might not be far fetched. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen says that the Blackhawks are a “performance based organization” that will give the job to the most deserving player. Scott Powers argues that Forsling still won’t see the time he could have due to Campbell signing on the cheap, and Michal Kempny choosing the Hawks. Forsling, he writes, is most likely headed back to Sweden, despite the Hawks sounding like they might be making a place for him. Powers adds that Forsling is certainly NHL ready but that sending him back to Sweden to push his next contract off a year might be incentive enough to keep his off the roster.
In other Hawks news:
- Powers continues his defensive analysis by writing that Ville Pokka is also not too far away from being a mainstay on the blue line. Though he’s a bit slower in stride and not as gifted athletically as other d-men, Powers believes that his acumen and hockey IQ will more than compensate for an eventual shot with the Hawks. He will have a chance in Chicago–it’s just a matter of when.
- Chicago is high on Nick Schmaltz for obvious reasons, and Powers writes that his work with fellow rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Richard Panik certainly garnered attention. The three drove possession and were the “best line” on the ice during the Hawks’ preseason loss. He continues by writing that Schmaltz and Hinostroza stand the best chance of making the roster among bubble players.
- According to Powers, Scott Darling could be a #1 goalie in the NHL when he’s “at his best.” Where Darling needs to improve, writes Powers, is his consistency. Darling is set for free agency after this season, and if he is interested in playing the role of a starter, Powers notes that he will have to be better between the pipes after having considerable time between starts. During Wednesday’s game, Darling had 33 saves on 35 shots and dazzled during the second period with 23 saves. Should his game continue to be as impressive, Darling could expect a lot of phone calls next summer.