NEWARK, N.J. — The Blackhawks assigned forward Jeremy Morin to Rockford on Tuesday for what the team called a “conditioning assignment,” bypassing waivers and buying them some time in determining the young forward’s future.
A healthy scratch for the last eight games, Morin has asked the Hawks to either play him or trade him, according to two sources. Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement with the players, a conditioning loan requires a player’s consent, and can’t last more than 14 days.
“I think that getting [him] playing is what it’s all about,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We want him playing and getting confidence in his game and getting some production, as well. But the last week, I thought he had a real good week with us practicing, and so he wants to go down and play. I think it’s good for everybody.”
The 23-year-old Morin has zero points in 15 games this season, but would be unlikely to clear waivers without being claimed by another team. Quenneville wouldn’t rule out Morin sticking with the Hawks and eventually earning a significant role, but he acknowledged the challenge Morin faces.
“I think he’s got to earn it,” Quenneville said. “Certainly, we’ll see. If there’s an opportunity, I’m sure he’s going to take advantage of it. He had an opportunity earlier [this season], and it’s not like he hurt himself. But the depth of our team right now is part of it. He’s trying to crack through that.”
Morin on Monday didn’t say much, just that he understood why the lineup wasn’t changing with the Hawks on a hot streak.
“I’m not really expecting anything,” he said. “I just come to the rink every day and try to get back in the lineup.”
The Hawks also sent down Joakim Nordstrom to clear salary cap space for Patrick Sharp to come off long-term injured reserve. Nordstrom had played in the last 10 games, posting two assists while playing a checking role alongside Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith. Daniel Carcillo moved down to his spot on that line with Sharp back in the lineup.
NOTES: Scott Darling will start in net for the Hawks against the Devils tonight. Quenneville expects Antti Raanta to start at some point on this three-game trip. Klas Dahlbeck will be back in the lineup tonight, as well.