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.”
Per the CBA: “Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate.”
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.”
Patrick Sharp will return to the lineup tonight after missing 14 games with an apparent knee injury, making Morin’s road back to the lineup even tougher.