The Chicago Blackhawks took home their third victory of the season last night, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout. They did it without Brandon Hagel, as he was being evaluated for a shoulder injury suffered on Sunday. Now the team has revealed that shoulder injury will keep Hagel out for the next two weeks. It’s not all bad news though, the team also announced that Isaak Phillips and Tyler Johnson have been removed from the COVID protocol.
Hagel, a sixth-round pick from 2016 by the Buffalo Sabres, has blossomed into a legitimate NHL player with the Blackhawks. Signed in 2018 after he failed to ink an entry-level deal with the Sabres, the former Red Deer Rebels star quickly climbed the ranks to become a full-time member of Chicago’s lineup last season. In 52 games he scored nine goals and 24 points, suggesting there was more to come from the winger in the future.
That future appeared to be this season, as Hagel started the year with four goals and six points in his first 13 games. On the first season of a three-year contract, he was already providing the kind of inexpensive supplementary scoring that the Blackhawks need to be effective.
Two weeks could mean that Hagel misses as few as five games, though it’s unclear right now when he’ll be fully ready to return to action. For now, he and MacKenzie Entwistle, who has also been ruled out for the next several weeks, will have to watch and hope the team can get things turned in the right direction without them.