Those departures are going to create openings that could be filled by younger players coming through the farm system.
One of those young players could be 2011 first-round draft pick Mark McNeill.
The Blackhawks announced on Friday afternoon that McNeill has signed a one-year contract with the team. Terms of the contract were not released, but General Fanager has it as a two-way deal that will pay McNeill $600,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.
McNeill, the 18th overall pick in 2011 by the Blackhawks, spent almost all of the 2015-16 season playing for the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL where he scored a team-leading 25 goals. His 48 points were good enough for second on the team while his performance earned him a spot on the AHL’s All-Star team.
To this point he has spent pretty much his entire pro career in the AHL and has at the very least demonstrated he can be a top-line scorer at that level.
He earned a brief call-up to the NHL club last season, appearing in one game for the Blackhawks in January. He played 12 minutes in what would be a 5-0 loss.
With the Blackhawks suddenly looking for forward depth following some big losses this summer, he might get an even bigger look this season.