If the 2009-2010 Blackhawks motto was “One Goal”, then the 2010-2011 team’s should be “It’s a Work in Progress.” Because with all the roster turnover and now Brian Campbell’s injury, nothing is set in stone.
The final roster casualties came today when Ryan Potulny and Jassen Cullimore were placed on waivers. Should they pass through without being claimed, then they’re headed to Rockford to start the season. This all came a day after Jeremy Morin was sent to Rockford. I thought Potulny had a strong chance to make it early in pre-season but it’s quite clear the Hawks want to give the first opportunity to their guys, i.e. Jake Dowell and Jack Skille.
As of now, Fernando Pisani finds himself on the second line, Viktor Stalberg on the fourth, and Nick Leddy is a top-4 defensemen. There’s almost a 100% chance that none of those players will finish the season in those roles.
Nick Leddy is really quite the story. While I was skeptical of his chances to play professional hockey this year, he’s made a believer out of me. While he’s going to have a rough go of it in the early going, he’ll likely be all the stronger for it and when he goes back to Rockford, it should make him that much more confident.
You can forget about him playing for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL this year. That ship sailed after he survived the first two cuts. So once he does get sent down, he’s headed to Rockford.
Any other doubts should be quelled by the simple fact that one of Joel Quenneville’s greatest coaching strengths is on the defensive end with younger players. Leddy will not end up being a sacrifice to the Gods. Quenneville’s going to make sure Leddy’s put in a position that gives him the greatest chance of success. Since it is the beginning of the season, Leddy will likely have a longer rope and Quenneville’s won’t be as impatient as he would be in April.
So no, he’s not exactly Mike Keenan with young defensemen.
–We’ll be contributing to Saturday’s “Committed Indian”. Be sure to pick up a copy if you don’t already.