Today is the final day before the holiday roster freeze comes into effect, though there can still be some movement afterwards. Teams are allowed to recall players during the next two weeks, and can also send down any player recalled after December 11th. That would include anyone called up today, meaning we’ll keep our eye on all the minor moves around the league.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled Luke Johnson from the minor leagues while putting Marcus Kruger on injured reserve with a concussion. Kruger suffered the injury last night when he was hit by Nashville Predators forward Ryan Hartman, and will be out indefinitely. Johnson meanwhile returns to the Blackhawks after playing 13 games with the club earlier in the season.
- Phil Varone is on his way back to the minor leagues, loaned from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms today. Varone has played four games for Philadelphia this season but has been held scoreless in each. The veteran forward is a dominant AHL player though, and has 28 points in 22 games for the Phantoms after posting a 70-point season in 2017-18.
- The Arizona Coyotes have sent goaltender Adin Hill and forward Conor Garland back to the minor leagues, though with no corresponding moves yet one or two could be back up quickly. Since Hill and Garland were both originally recalled before December 11th, they would not be able to be sent down during the freeze. Now they will be able to freely move up and down throughout, allowing them to get into game action should Arizona activate some of their injured players.
- The same tact might be taking place in Los Angeles, where Michael Amadio, Sean Walker and Austin Wagner have all been sent down to the AHL. Again, all three players had been recalled prior to December 11th, meaning this move is likely only to create some roster flexibility through the roster freeze.
- In Vegas however, the Golden Knights have recalled Brandon Pirri and had him at practice today with the club. Pirri has been dominating the minor leagues once again, and with Max Pacioretty headed to the injured reserve, the team needed another forward. The 27-year old Pirri once scored 22 goals in just 49 games for the Florida Panthers, but has struggled to find consistent work in the NHL since. This year for the Chicago Wolves, he has 41 points in 28 games and has looked far too capable for the AHL.
- Thomas Hickey has been moved to injured reserve, giving the New York Islanders roster room to recall Devon Toews. The 24-year old Toews has yet to make his NHL debut but is a leader for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers all over the ice. The defenseman has 86 points through 130 minor league games since being a fourth-round pick in 2014, and could give the Islanders a decent puck-moving presence going forward.
- Another Los Angeles Kings player is on his way down, but this time it’s for a conditioning stint. Jack Campbell has been sent to the minor leagues to continue his rehab, an important step on his recovery process from a meniscus injury earlier this year. Campbell is still on injured reserve for the time being.
- Clark Bishop is on his way back to the NHL, as the Charlotte Checkers announced that the rookie forward has been recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes. Bishop, 22, was a fifth-round pick and was never much of an offensive force in his junior years. The two-way center even split his first pro season between the AHL and ECHL. However, Bishop has worked hard and is now a regular call-up for Carolina in his third season. Bishop has two points in 15 games for the ’Canes this year.