Blackhawks reduce roster to 24, demote Pirri

Blackhawks reduce roster to 24, demote Pirri
Brandon Pirri

When training camp opened for the Blackhawks earlier this month, Brandon Pirri was the favorite for the ever elusive second line center job.  Now, everyone's offseason favorite has become a camp casualty.

Saturday night, the Blackhawks set their roster to 24, and Pirri was one of the cuts.  Jeremy Morin and Antti Raanta were the other two players sent to Rockford.

A couple of things contributed to Pirri's demotion.  First of all, he suffered an injury and was unable to play and practice until this past week.  It was a terrible break for last season's AHL leading scorer.

Secondly, a couple of dark horses rose to the occasion.

Winger Jimmy Hayes has been one of the better Blackhawk forwards throughout camp.  He scored his first goal of the preseason in Saturday night's 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals, and came in to camp in the best shape of his life.  Joel Quenneville has praised his play and his commitment to conditioning.  He's one of the last players standing on the eve of the final roster cut.

Forward Joakim Nordstrom has been camp's biggest surprise.  The 21 year old Swede has been fantastic in a checking line role.  He looks to be the favorite to fill the wing spot vacated by Michael Frolik, who was traded to Winnipeg shortly after the Blackhawks captured their second Stanley Cup in four seasons.

As it stands right now, the Blackhawks have thirteen forwards and nine defensemen on the roster.  Look for the Hawks to hang on to eight defensemen and 13 forwards.

The eighth defenseman spot will be filled by either Mike Kostka or Ryan Stanton.  Kostka, 27, has more NHL experience and is less of a prospect than Stanton, and therefore will likely win the job.  Stanton will be better served racking up big minutes in Rockford than wandering the press box while the Blackhawks skate below.

GOALTENDERS (2)
50 Corey Crawford

39 Nikolai Khabibulin

DEFENSEMEN (9)

17 Sheldon Brookbank

4  Niklas Hjalmarsson

2  Duncan Keith

6  Mike Kostka

8  Nick Leddy

27 Johnny Oduya

32 Michal Rozsival

7  Brent Seabrook

55 Ryan Stanton

FORWARDS (13)

29 Bryan Bickell

52 Brandon Bollig

26 Michal Handzus

22 Jimmy Hayes

81 Marian Hossa

88 Patrick Kane

16 Marcus Kruger

42 Joakim Nordstrom

20 Brandon Saad

10 Patrick Sharp

65 Andrew Shaw

28 Ben Smith

19 Jonathan Toews

 

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