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Blackhawks begin youth movement

[FBTW]

Marko Dano’s call-up to the NHL was just the latest in a string of moves that have made the current Blackhawks a much younger club than the one that hoisted the Stanley Cup in June.

Dano, 20, was called up in place of Bryan Bickell, a slumping 29-year old veteran.

[nicelink url=”http://chicago.suntimes.com/blackhawks-hockey/7/71/1065157/blackhawks-send-bryan-bickell-rockford-recall-marko-dano”]

When he makes his Blackhawks debut tonight against the Kings, Dano will be joined on a line by 23-year-old Tanner Kero and 21-year-old Ryan Hartman.

Combined, the line has eight goals and 13 assists in 43 NHL games. All 20 points belong to Dano, who came to Chicago in the trade that sent Brandon Saad to Columbus.

Jonathan Toews had more points last season (66) than the lines’ combined age (64).

Contributing heavily to the youth movement has been injuries to veteran players.

Last month, 32-year-old defenseman Duncan Keith had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.

Marian Hossa, 36, is out with a lower-body injury.

With all the changes, fans at Monday night’s game might have to consult their programs on more than one occasion.

[FBTW]