Who replaces Brian Campbell in the Blackhawks lineup?

GYI0061593399-leddy-clausandersen-getty.jpgThe road to repeat for the Chicago Blackhawks was already set to be a difficult one given all the roster turnover during the off-season. Now the team will be dealing with the loss of key defenseman Brian Campbell for the next four to five weeks with a knee sprain will make at least the start of the season that much more difficult. The question for Chicago now becomes: Who will take over for Campbell while he’s out. Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago digs in to figure things out.

In either a criticism of the Hawks’ depth (after their top four) at that position, or a nod to his talents, 19-year-old Nick Leddy might be the best candidate for the job. He’s a puck-moving guy that should feel comfortable with the steady Niklas Hjalmarsson, or if coach Joel Quenneville elects, Brent Seabrook or Duncan Keith.

It was always in Leddy’s best interests to play with a top-four guy, or go to the minors and get the full-scale learning experience. Now, there’s less of a choice in that decision. Nothing says he’ll finish the game the way he starts it but the opportunity is there for his taking.

Leddy was obtained from the Minnesota Wild last year in the Cam Barker trade. Just last season, Leddy was starting on defense for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA. Now he’s poised to start the year with the Chicago Blackhawks who will be looking to defend the Stanley Cup. Not a bad upgrade in life, that’s for sure.

The Blackhawks will just have to hope that the 19 year-old Leddy is ready for the spotlight, otherwise it’ll be Jordan Hendry’s time to shine in Chicago. Hendry played through most of the playoffs for Chicago last year but did lose his starting job to Nick Boynton during the Stanley Cup finals. With the lack of depth in the Blackhawks system, veteran Jassen Cullimore also figures to start the season with the Blackhawks in a support role.

It’s not an ideal starting point for the team, but the Blackhawks knew they might have to deal with these issues this season given what they had to do to get under the cap. How this affects their run for another Stanley Cup will make for captivating theater in Chicago.

(Photo: Claus Andersen – Getty Images)

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.