After suffering an ankle injury on Tuesday, Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson has been moved to injured reserve. While it might seem like placement on regular IR is encouraging for his timeline, that’s not necessarily the case. With the Blackhawks nowhere near the salary cap ceiling, there is no need to use long-term injured reserve. It is not clear how long Johson will be out.
It’s a tough blow for Johnson, who was experiencing something of a renaissance with Chicago this season after some down years. The versatile forward had six points through six games, including an assist against the Florida Panthers before exiting. Playing top-six minutes with powerplay time, the 32-year-old was setting himself up to have a nice bounce-back year.
With Johnson unavailable, Jujhar Khaira will move onto the second line with Jonathan Toews and Taylor Raddysh and play the net front on the second powerplay unit according to Charlie Roumeliotis of NBCS Chicago. The Blackhawks have been steadfast in keeping top prospects in the minor leagues to play with the Rockford IceHogs, and this injury likely won’t change that. For now, it appears as though they’ll go with 12 forwards on the roster, though that may change once they head out on the road.