Blackhawks notes: Lineup shuffling leads to AHL demotion for Cole Guttman

The Hawks changed all but one forward line and defensive pairing entering Saturday’s loss to the Golden Knights. With Philipp Kurashev nearing a return from injury, they also surprisingly sent Guttman down to Rockford.

SHARE Blackhawks notes: Lineup shuffling leads to AHL demotion for Cole Guttman
The Blackhawks sent Cole Guttman to Rockford on Saturday.

The Blackhawks sent Cole Guttman to Rockford on Saturday.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

After keeping the same lineup against the Maple Leafs and Avalanche, the Blackhawks jumbled every forward line and defensive pairing but one in the 5-3 loss Saturday to the Golden Knights.

Taylor Raddysh moved onto Connor Bedard’s right wing on the first line, and Andreas Athanasiou moved onto Lukas Reichel’s right wing on the second line. Ryan Donato was bumped down to fourth-line center. Athanasiou has heated up over the first two weeks of the season, and coach Luke Richardson hopes he can help get Reichel going.

“We want to make sure, if someone’s running a little bit better right now, then — especially with the home-team [last] change — we’re going to try to take advantage of that,” Richardson said. “[We want to] get the guys playing together that are running hot.”

On defense, Kevin Korchinski flipped onto Seth Jones’ pairing, and Alex Vlasic flipped onto Connor Murphy’s pairing.

Guttman sent down

Another aspect of the lineup shakeup was the surprising decision to send center Cole Guttman down to Rockford after only three NHL appearances this season.

Guttman, 24, impressed after his call-up last winter, recovered faster than expected from shoulder surgery this offseason and scored in the season opener against the Penguins. An AHL demotion seemed neither imminent nor warranted, even though he had been healthy-scratched the last two games.

But with injured forwards Philipp Kurashev (wrist) and Colin Blackwell (hernia) close to returning — both participated in the morning skate — the Hawks needed to resolve a logjam. Guttman’s waiver exemption made him an easier cut than Reese Johnson or MacKenzie Entwistle, who both would have to clear waivers.

“It’s good for him to get back and play all situations down in Rockford because he’s going to be probably their top player,” Richardson said. “If he can do that, when he comes back . . . he’ll be in that same boat he was in last year when he came up. He was playing all situations; he was doing great in the AHL.”

This and that

The Hawks debuted a new intro video starring wrestler CM Punk centered around the team’s fan support, with only the last 30 seconds or so leaning heavily on highlights of current players.

  • Bedard did receive his own personal video package at the first TV timeout. And around the arena, No. 98 jerseys already outnumber everything else — including old Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews jerseys — by a sizable margin.

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