Will Calvin de Haan be ready for Blackhawks season opener in Prague?


PRAGUE — The Blackhawks finalized their 2019 Opening Night roster on Tuesday, but there may be a change between now and Friday's season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.

With Connor Murphy (groin) starting the season on injured reserve, the Blackhawks have six defensemen on the NHL roster and that includes Calvin de Haan, who's battling back from a shoulder and groin injury. But his status is still unclear. Or is it?

While coach Jeremy Colliton said after Wednesday's practice at O2 Arena that a final decision hasn't been made yet, de Haan appeared to be under the impression that he might not be cleared to play.

"I guess you guys know more than I do," de Haan said. "I don't think that's the plan as of right now. ... I'm not sure. We still have to go over a few things and go from there. I don't know what to tell you."

De Haan reiterated that his shoulder is "fine" and it's the groin injury that's nagging him. But he feels like he could give it a go."

"Grinding a little bit," de Haan said. "But I think I can manage and survive a hockey game right now."

Even though the Blackhawks submitted their cap compliant roster already, the players who made the trip overseas but were assigned to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs are still with the club. Dennis Gilbert practiced with the team on Wednesday and was rotating in and out with Slater Koekkoek on the third pairing.

Gilbert is the likely candidate to replace de Haan if the latter isn't cleared.

"We'll see, he's close," Colliton said of de Haan. "Still got a couple days to figure that out. We definitely don't want to play him before he's ready. That being said, if he's 100 percent, there's no reason to hold him out. We do have Gilbert here if necessary, but we'll kind of see how it plays out.

"The plan for him doesn't change: Just try to get ready, and then we'll tell him if he's playing or not."

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