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Blackhawks place Murphy on LTIR, Johnson on IR

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The Blackhawks have placed Connor Murphy on long-term injured reserve and Tyler Johnson on injured reserve, the team announced Friday evening. They're both in concussion protocol, retroactive to March 12. 

The corresponding moves had to be made to make room for Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh, who were the two forwards acquired in the Brandon Hagel blockbuster trade with Tampa Bay earlier in the afternoon. The Blackhawks had exceeded the 23-man roster limit and needed to get under the limit by 4 p.m. CT.

Murphy, most notably, will be out for at least 10 games and 24 days, which means the earliest he can return is April 7 vs. Seattle. At that point, there will be only three weeks left in the regular season, so you wonder if it might make more sense to just shut him down entirely.

Murphy being placed on long-term injured reserve also opens up the possibility of Chicago using its extra cap space to accumulate assets, depending on what the market dictates. The NHL trade deadline is on Monday at 2 p.m. CT.

The prognosis for Johnson is a little more encouraging. He skated on his own during practice on Thursday and could return to the lineup sooner than later.

"He’s feeling better," interim head coach Derek King said after Thursday's practice. "They test him on the ice to see how he feels. I saw him walk in the locker room, I knew he was skating but I haven’t talked to anyone since. I’ll see how it went for him. But gradually you’ll see him skating and going through the protocol stages."

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