The Chicago Blackhawks will start training camp in a few days and, perhaps surprisingly, Zack Smith will be there. Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times spoke to Smith’s agent today and reports that Smith is healthy and plans to be in camp this year, fighting for a roster spot with everyone else. The veteran forward hasn’t played in nearly a year, last hitting the ice on February 12, 2020, before back surgery put him on the shelf.
Earlier this week it was also reported that Andrew Shaw is healthy and will be attending camp, meaning suddenly the Blackhawks have a pair of NHL forward that weren’t being penciled into the lineup just a few months ago. That’s good news, especially given the recent losses the team has experienced, with Kirby Dach, Jonathan Toews, and Alexander Nylander all ruled out, perhaps for the entire season. Shaw and Smith are certainly not replacements for those names, but they at least can provide a little depth to a reeling squad.
- The Minnesota Wild have hired Randy Sexton as Senior Advisor to the General Manager, where he will re-join former colleague Bill Guerin. The two spent years together with the Pittsburgh Penguins when Guerin was first a development coach, then an AGM, and Sexton the team’s director of amateur scouting. More recently Sexton was an AGM for the Buffalo Sabres, working with Jason Botterill, another former Pittsburgh executive, but was swept out with everyone else when changes were made this summer.
- Speaking of Buffalo, things didn’t get off to a good start today, though it’s not time to panic just yet. Jack Eichel missed the first on-ice session of training camp due to an upper-body injury and is listed day-to-day in his recovery. Interestingly, that left Casey Mittelstadt and Riley Sheahan rotating through the first line center spot between Taylor Hall and Victor Olofsson. Sheahan of course is in camp on a PTO trying to make a name for himself, so today was a nice opportunity to make an early impression. The team also didn’t have Linus Ullmark on the ice thanks to an immigration issue that pushed back his quarantine period. Buffalo expects the goaltender to join them in the next few days.