The banged up Chicago Blackhawks are now at critical mass. Both Connor Bedard and Nick Foligno, who exited yesterday’s game are now on the IR, another massive blow to a team mired in a five-game losing streak and without many of its biggest contributors.
UPDATE: We have placed Connor Bedard (fractured jaw) and Nick Foligno (fractured left finger) on injured reserve. pic.twitter.com/BZ27gEkcEW
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 6, 2024
Bedard leads the Blackhawks in every scoring category, which all but neutralizes an already struggling offense with his absence. Foligno has been the vocal leader both on and off the ice. Now, with two of the team’s biggest contributors shelved–with many others–it’s going to be some tough sledding for the Blackhawks.
Blackhawks Make Corresponding Moves
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks acquired Rem Pitlick from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2026 seventh-round pick. The 26-year-old forward has 24 points (8-16) with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. He hasn’t played in an NHL game since last season, but now he’s going to see the show pretty quickly to fill in for the barrage of injuries.
Pitlick has 123 NHL games to his name with 21 goals and 54 points. No, he’s not going to come in and produce like Bedard but it’s another person to hold down the fort as the Blackhawks struggle with their health.
Meanwhile, they’ve added another forward in Zach Sanford, who knows Chicago well playing for the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and Arizona Coyotes. He’s played 316 NHL games with 100 points (49-51) on the nose. Sanford was claimed off waivers from the Coyotes.
Chicago claims Zach Sanford off waivers from Arizona.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 6, 2024
The injury list reads off almost like a roster of its own. The official count now of injured Blackhawks just from opening night and even fill in’s:
- Joey Anderson
- Andreas Athanasiou
- Anthony Beauvillier
- Taylor Hall
- Tyler Johnson
- Seth Jones
- Taylor Raddysh
- Connor Bedard (Yesterday)
- Nick Foligno (Yesterday)
It doesn’t include Corey Perry, who is no longer with the team. A glance at the names shows that no matter what the Blackhawks do, they’re fielding an a lineup that is relying heavily on depth from the AHL. It doesn’t take an astute fan to determine what the majority of results will be.
Winter may have just started, but it’s going to feel like a longer one than usual until the Blackhawks roster is nursed back to full strength.