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Only three cuts left to make for Blackhawks as roster takes shape

The Blackhawks cut eight more players from their training camp roster on Tuesday, assigning Drew LeBlanc, Terry Broadhurst, Phillip Danault, Byron Froese, Kyle Beach, Brad Mills, Maxim Shalunov and Antti Raanta to Rockford of the AHL. Brad Winchester and Theo Peckham were also put on waivers, according to a report by TVA’s Renauld Lavoie.

That leaves the Hawks with 15 forwards, nine defensemen and two goalies on their roster. Joel Quenneville said Monday that he’ll likely carry a 23-man roster into the season-opener against Washington on Oct. 1, meaning there are three cuts left to come. Those cuts almost certainly will come from these seven players: defensemen Michael Kostka and Ryan Stanton, and forwards Jimmy Hayes, Jeremy Morin, Joakim Nordstrom, Brandon Pirri and Ben Smith.

Hayes and Smith have both had very strong camps and appear the safest bets to make the roster. Morin has a goal and two assists, while Nordstrom has been an effective penalty killer alongside fellow Swede Marcus Kruger. Pirri missed the first four preseason games with a lower-body injury, but had a strong debut Monday night in Pittsburgh.Quenneville has said he’s open to the idea of keeping eight defensemen, so Kostka and Stanton are very much still in the mix, too.

The Hawks have the day off today before getting three straight days of practice — during which Quenneville said the team will focus on system work and special teams — before the preseason finale Saturday night against the Capitals.