The Chicago Blackhawks hope to have injured forward Ben Smith back in the lineup soon. That means someone from the current roster will have to be moved to create room for that return.
Rostislav Olesz should find his seat getting a bit hotter every day.
The former first-round pick of the Florida Panthers has been scratched from two of Chicago's first four contests. In the 'Hawks' most recent home game with Boston, coach Joel Quenneville decided that John Scott was a better option as the 12th forward than the man who came over in the Brian Campbell trade.
That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Olesz hasn't found a spot on any of the offensive lines. Daniel Carcillo got the call on the second line upon his return. Viktor Stalberg came off the injured list and replaced Marian Hossa on that line Saturday. Marcus Kruger seems to be making himself comfortable on the fourth line.
Where does that leave Olesz? On a bus to Rockford or wherever the waiver process takes him.
The roster currently is full at 23 players with Smith on injured reserve. When it comes time to reactivate him, a decision will have to be made. Hossa's injury is not thought to be the kind that requires a stint on the IR, so something has to give.
Scott seems entrenched in his curious role of eighth defenseman/emergency forward. Everyone else seems to be contributing. Olesz should be given ice time if he's going to be up with the 'Hawks. If not, what is he doing in town?
Olesz is carrying a $3.125 million cap hit. Paying a player that much to skate AHL minutes in Rockford is kind of tough to swallow. What's worse, however, is paying him to sit in the team suite. If Olesz isn't going to play, why be burdened with the cap hit as well as his salary?
Does Quenneville believe Scott is more deserving of fourth-line minutes than Olesz? If that's the case, there are better options than letting big cap dollars waste away in street clothes.