Great news after the Chicago Blackhawks practice on Wednesday as Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Ben Eager all practiced.
Coach Joel Quenneville stated after practice that Eager and Toews are close to returning, if not days away from returning to the Blackhawks lineup and that we will know more after the morning skate tomorrow.
Hossa, on the other hand is not poised for a return to the lineup soon but many have hinted that he has been targeting Nov. 25th’s game against the San Jose Sharks, still a few weeks away.
But one player who was probably not as enthusiastic about the eminent return of Eager and Toews is recently acquired forward Andrew Ebbett.
Ebbett has played decently in his first seven games with the ‘Hawks and have been good if not great in the faceoff dot with a 56.7 faceoff percentage, second on the team behind the injured Toews.
But the problem for Ebbett is that he has not recorded a point in his time with the Blackhawks and is a player that thrives playing amongst the top nine forwards.
What could really save Ebbett is his versatility and ability to fill in on the top scoring lines which players like Tomas Kopecky and Colin Fraser cannot provide.
Fraser is less effective in the faceoff circle than Ebbett and does not possess the playmaking/passing ability that Ebbett can bring but Fraser does have the ability to play on the penalty kill effectively, something Ebbett does not do as we.
Kopecky on the other hand has struggled since returning from Helsinki and has a team low plus/minus at -5 but might have found a new role as the screen player on the power play.
One interesting scenario for Ebbett could be that he might figure into next season's Blackhawk lineup, even though he is an unrestricted free agent. Even with his unrestricted free agency one would expect Ebbett would not demand a major pay raise and could fit onto the ‘Hawks third line nicely.
But Ebbett will need to prove his worth in the next few games, if he can put up a good showing against the likes of the Phoenix Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche, he might be able to salvage some ice time and not be placed back on waivers.
I know I like many ‘Hawks fans are excited for the return of captain Jonathan Toews, tough guy Ben Eager and Marian Hossa, but I think that if I was Andrew Ebbett I would be feeling a little uneasy in the desert.