ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Derek King is headed into his fourth season as the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs, and it’s safe to say he’ll have his most talented roster yet going into the opener on Friday in Grand Rapids.
The IceHogs roster was bolstered Monday afternoon when the Blackhawks assigned forwarsd MccKenzie Entwistle and Philipp Kurashev and goaltenders Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban to the team. Delia and Subban both cleared waivers Monday allowing the Blackhawks to retain them.
The IceHogs roster had already included several other players with NHL experience. Guys like Brett Connolly, Alex Nylander, and Nicolas Beaudin.
Add those players in with some highly skilled young players like Lukas Reichel, the Blackhawks first-round pick in 2020 and you can understand why King will be challenged to choose the right guys for the opening night roster and challenged to find appropriate ice tiem for the players he keeps in Rockford.
“We have a lot of bodies. I’ve got a lot of players that have some NHL experience. I’ve got a lot of decisions to make on who’s going to start the first game in G.R., but I guess that’s a good problem to have. All good players. All guys who can play.”
How long some of the previously named players remain in Rockford is the unknown. Future injuries with the Blackhawks will lead to call-ups to Chicago. Trades could also go down. For now the IceHogs will be content with their situation. This is a franchise that hasn’t made the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs since the 2017-18 season when Jeremy Colliton was the head coach.