Chicago Blackhawks: The Arrival and Departure of Prospects in Rockford

Jon FromiSenior Analyst IApril 4, 2013

Phillip Danault is one of several prospects who have been in and out of Rockford in the past few days.
Phillip Danault is one of several prospects who have been in and out of Rockford in the past few days.Nick Laham/Getty Images

Rockford, Ill., home of the Chicago Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, has been a hot travel destination for 'Hawks prospects of late. It's been hard to keep track of all the comings and goings in the past week.

Let's see if we can track some of the movement, per the team website:

In: Phillip Danault and Mark McNeill, fresh from their junior seasons.

Out: Philippe Paradis and Rob Flick, both of whom were traded this week.

In: Maxime Sauve, coming over from the Bruins organization in the Flick deal.

Out: Byron Froese, shipped to Toledo Wednesday.

In: Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes, who were sent down to Rockford Tuesday.

In and Out: Brandon Bollig, who was assigned to Rockford Monday and recalled by the 'Hawks Wednesday morning.

Both Danault and McNeill skated for the IceHogs Tuesday against Milwaukee, as did Hayes. Morin sat out the game with an injury sustained Monday night in Chicago's game with Nashville.

I would expect the pipeline between Chicago and Rockford to be active in the coming weeks. It could well be fast and furious as injuries occur and more prospects finish their college or junior seasons.

Playoff Hopes Fading but Remain

With the season winding down, Rockford now sits in the 10th spot in the AHL's Western Conference. With 73 points, only three points separate them from the four teams ahead of them in the standings. However, all of those teams have games in hand on the IceHogs.

This past weekend, Rockford dropped games to Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, two of the teams above them right now. Saturday's loss was particularly disappointing. The IceHogs built a two-goal lead only to give up seven unanswered goals in a 7-3 loss to the Barons.

Rockford bounced back with a 2-1 win over the Admirals Tuesday but has just eight games to claw its way into the playoffs. That starts Friday with yet another game with Milwaukee and continues Saturday and Sunday with a home-and-home with Peoria.

Just two of these last eight games are in Rockford. Still, every contest has to be considered a must-win at this point.