The Blackhawks say they have approximately six guys gunning for a “couple” of roster spots this season.
So, there will be cuts.
While normally the toughest part of any coach’s job (save Homer Simpson), Joel Quenneville has become more comfortable with the idea of giving someone the axe.
“Earlier on it might have been a little more challenging,” Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Now I don’t mind it at all.”
The ‘Hawks are pretty much set on defense and in goal, meaning the lone spots up for grabs are at forward, where the club is looking to replace the likes of Michael Frolik, Dave Bolland and Viktor Stalberg.
Some names have already been chopped from consideration. Kyle Beach was put on waivers earlier today and Chicago previously bid farewell to 2012 first-rounder Teuvo Teravainen.
So, who’s still gunning for a job?
21-year-old Brandon Pirri, the club’s second-round pick at the ’09 Draft, is a name that continues to pop up. Pirri led AHL Rockford in scoring last season (75 points in 76 games) and has seven games of NHL experience under his belt.
Speaking of NHL experience, the likes of Jimmy Hayes (41 gmaes), Ben Smith (20) and Jeremy Morin (15) should also make a push for a job.
Whatever Quenneville’s decision is, it’ll have to happen soon. Chicago has just two preseason games and eight days left until it opens at home against Washington on Oct. 1.