Tomas Fleischmann

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Opportunity is knocking for Blackhawks prospects

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Andrew Shaw was traded. So was Teuvo Teravainen.

Andrew Ladd was lost to free agency. So was Dale Weise.

Tomas Fleischmann is still unsigned.

Add it up and that’s five of the 14 forwards who suited up for Chicago in the playoffs. They’ll need to be replaced somehow, and prospects Ryan Hartman, Vincent Hinostroza, Tyler Motte, Tanner Kero, and Nick Schmaltz are all candidates to do it.

A first-round draft pick in 2013, Hartman had 35 points in 61 games last season for AHL Rockford. He also played three games for the ‘Hawks, and knows consistency will be the key to graduating full-time to the NHL.

“You can’t be a guy who comes in, has two or three games, and then takes a night off,” Hartman told CSN Chicago. “You have to bring it every night. That’s what it takes. There isn’t a guy who takes a night off who won’t be called down right away.”

Heading into 2015-16, the big question mark in Chicago was the blue line. Could a youngster like Trevor van Riemsdyk step up and fill the hole that Johnny Oduya left behind?

Ultimately, the answer was no, and the ‘Hawks went out in the first round. Brian Campbell was then signed in free agency, and management also has high expectations for Michal Kempny.

The defense addressed, now it’s the forward group that’s going under the microscope.

“Obviously with cap issues, stuff’s going to happen in the offseason,” said Hartman. “Nobody really knows what’s going to happen but it’s an opportunity now for me, especially, and some other guys to make a push, try to make the team this year.”

Related: ‘Hawks sign Jordin Tootoo — one year, $750,000

Report: Weise draws interest from 10 teams, including Canadiens

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Dale Weise is drawing plenty of free agent interest, including from his former team, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs rank among 10 teams who are inquiring about Weise’s services, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

If a reunion happens with Montreal, it would have to come at the “right price,” ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports. Apparently the two sides batted around possible contract scenarios before the Canadiens sent Weise and Tomas Fleischmann to the Chicago Blackhawks around the 2016 trade deadline.

Weise knew a move was likely while noting his “love” for Montreal before the trade.

Plenty of Canadiens fans loved him back, in no small part thanks to his recurring role as an unlikely hero. Weise even saw spot first-line duty during the peak of his time with the Habs.

His reps would be wise to emphasize his best moments in Montreal rather than his quiet run as a Blackhawks rental.

56 games in 2015-16 with Montreal: 14 goals, 26 points
15 games in 2015-16 with Chicago: one assist (plus a goal in four postseason contests)

Those flashes of brilliance and his character serve as selling points.

Still, the bigger picture presents a buyer beware, at least for anyone tempted to go the extra mile for Weise. The Canadiens seem to know that, too.

Hemsky, Faksa and the Michalek brothers added to Czech Republic’s World Cup roster

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Team Czech Republic announced their full 23-man roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Like every other team, the Czechs named 16 players to their roster back in March. Joining the likes of Jakub Voracek, Tomas Plekanec, Ondrej Palat and David Krejci are Milan Michalek (Toronto), Dmitrij Jaskin (St. Louis), Ales Hemsky (Dallas), Radek Faksa (Dallas), Jakub Nakladal (Calgary), Zbynek Michalek (Arizona) and Michal Jordan (Carolina).

Hemsky posted 13 goals and 39 points in 2015-16 and added a goal and four points during the Stars’ postseason run.

Milan Michalek has represented his country a number of times, including in the last Olympics where he had no points in five contests. The 31-year-old was traded from Ottawa to Toronto as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade, but he didn’t have a good season, as a finger injury derailed his year. He finished the season with seven goals and 16 points in 45 games.

Milan’s older brother, Zbynek, has also represented his nation a number of times at the international level. He took part in each of the last two Olympics.

Nakladal completed his first season in the NHL in 2015-16. The 28-year-old had two goals and five points in 27 contests with the Flames.

Former St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka, who was named to the team back on Mar. 2, is the only player on the roster who isn’t currently in the NHL.

Here’s the full roster:

G Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings
G Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
G Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets

D Radko Gudas, Philadelphia Flyers
D Michal Jordan, Carolina Hurricanes *
D Michal Kempny, Chicago Blackhawks
D Zbynek Michalek, Arizona Coyotes *
D Jakub Nakladal, Calgary Flames *
D Roman Polak, San Jose Sharks
D Andrej Sustr, Tampa Bay Lightning

F Radek Faksa, Dallas Stars *
F Michael Frolik, Calgary Flames
F Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes
F Ales Hemsky, Dallas Stars *
F Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks
F Dmitrij Jaskin, St. Louis Blues *
F David Krejci, Boston Bruins
F Milan Michalek, Toronto Maple Leafs *
F Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning
F David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
F Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens
F Vladimir Sobotka, Avangard Omsk (KHL)
F Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers

Earlier this week, Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr announced that he wouldn’t be taking part in the World Cup event.

In a surprising move, Jagr’s teammate in Florida, Jiri Hudler, was left off the roster. The 32-year-old had 16 goals and 46 points in 72 games with the Flames and Panthers in 2015-16. Radim Vrbata (Canucks), Tomas Fleischmann and Andrej Nestrasil (Carolina) also didn’t make the cut.

Blackhawks beat skidding Canucks 3-2 to clinch playoff spot

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Andrew Ladd scored the go-ahead goal with 2:27 left in the third period and the Chicago Blackhawks clinched their eighth straight playoff berth with a 3-2 victory over the skidding Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Jonathan Toews stickhandled into the Canucks zone before dropping a pass in the high slot to Ladd, who fired in a one-timer for his 23rd goal this season and sixth in 13 games with Chicago.

Ladd was coming off a three-point night against Calgary on Saturday in which he scored two goals and added an assist.

Trevor van Riemsdyk had two assists for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Tomas Fleischmann and Teuvo Teravainen also scored to help the Blackhawks improve to 44-25-7.

Alex Burrows and Sven Baertschi scored for the Canucks, who have managed only seven goals during their eight-game losing streak. Emerson Etem had two assists.

Blackhawks snap four-game losing skid after defeating the Jets

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As much as this was about Andrew Ladd‘s return to Winnipeg (Jets fans gave their former captain a standing ovation during a tribute), the Chicago Blackhawks needed a win.

Heading into Friday’s game, the Blackhawks had lost three in a row in regulation and four straight, including a shootout defeat against their Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Blues.

In fact, Chicago had lost to Dallas and L.A., two teams it may need to face at some point in the playoffs, as well as the hard-charging Philadelphia Flyers, during this recent slide.

The Jets aren’t heading to the playoffs. Not this year. They sit at the bottom of the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks, especially after the deadline, were billed as a team that was building toward taking another run at the Stanley Cup. Yet, their recent performances were likely a wake-up call with the playoffs only a few weeks away.

They earned a 4-0 victory over the Jets.

After a scoreless first period, the Blackhawks began to roll in the second. It started with Patrick Kane going short-side, top corner with the backhand for the goal — No. 39 on the season for him — and Marian Hossa following up 26 seconds later to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.

Ladd and Tomas Fleischmann scored in the third period and Scott Darling made 28 saves for the shutout.