By Chris Block
While it can’t officially be announced until after the NHLPA membership ratifies the new CBA on Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks have jumped the gun a bit by recalling four players from AHL Rockford.
Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig were all recalled by the Blackhawks on Monday January 7th. This, one day after the NHL and Player’s association hammered out the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement to end the NHL Lockout.
All four players were held out of Rockford’s home game Wednesday night against first-place Grand Rapids. The transactions will be made official this weekend. Three of the four were in Chicago skating with most of the other Blackhawks players at informal on-ice workouts beginning Tuesday. Nick Leddy joined in on Thursday.
One player who was surprisingly left out of the initial group of four call-ups is Rockford IceHogs alternate captain, and the team’s leading goal scorer, Ben Smith.
Smith, 24, scored his 15th goal of the season on Wednesday night. He also ranks second in points scored by an IceHogs player, 26, seven behind team captain Martin St. Pierre.