The Chicago Blackhawks announced today, via a press release posted on the team’s official website, that they have assigned forwards Cody Bass and Pierre-Cedric Labrie to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, Illinois.
Bass, a 27-year-old center, spent the 2013-14 season playing for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, where he had 8 goals, 10 assists (18 points) and a whopping 132 penalty minutes in 58 games. Bass, who’s also known for his defensive abilities, showed his willingness to drop the gloves again when he engaged the New York Rangers’ Nick Tarnasky in last Friday’s preseason game at the United Center in Chicago. Unfortunately for Bass, Tarnasky got the better of the exchange. Bass was acquired by the Blackhawks during the offseason in July.
Labrie, a 27-year-old winger, spent the 2013-14 season with the Tampa Bay Lighting and their AHL affiliate in Syracuse. He registered zero points and a minus-four rating in 13 games with the big club in Tampa. The 6-foot-3, 226-pound, Labrie, was also acquired by the Blackhawks this past offseason.
Neither of these assignments will come as a surprise to Blackhawks’ fans due to the team’s depth and lack of available roster spots. With the top two lines most likely consisting of the following: Sharp-Toews-Hossa; Saad-Richards-Kane; and with many predicting a third line of Bickell-Shaw-Versteeg, the only question is who will man the fourth line, barring any injuries of course. The experienced Marcus Kruger, who played in 81 games last year, will almost certainly win the center spot due to his penalty killing and defensive abilities; therefore, that leaves Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin, Peter Regin, Teuvo Terravainen, Brandon Mashinter, and Ryan Hartman battling for the final spots.
Ben Smith is most likely a shoe in due to his production last year during the regular season and playoffs, while Jeremy Morin might find himself in a tighter fight or at least with a constant target on his back.
ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers reported today that head coach Joel Quenneville said there’s a chance he could have Smith and Morin as wings on the fourth line. Quenneville was quoted saying, “It’ll be something to look at.”
The team’s active roster now includes 16 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders. NHL teams can carry no more than 23 players on their active roster, and rosters must be set by October 7th at 4:00 p.m. CT.
The Blackhawks continue the preseason on Wednesday, October 1st when they take on the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center in Chicago. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.