After taking a puck to the ear on New Year’s Eve, Niklas Hjalmarsson did not travel to St. Louis with the team for Saturday night’s game.
Hjalmarsson, 22, has been a fantastic addition to the Blackhawks blue line after being recalled for good late last year. Working mostly next to Brian Campbell, Hjalmarsson has one goal and six assists this year. However, he ranks fifth on the team with a plus-12 rating on the season. He is the most physical defenseman on the roster non named Brent Seabrook, but has only served 14 penalty minutes this year. Scotty Bowman has said Hjalmarsson reminds him of Niklas Lindstrom, the great Detroit captain.
The Blackhawks recently lost both Hjalmarsson and Kris Versteeg to the flu for a couple games, but both were active and played well on Thursday night. Jordan Hendry, who has played well in limited action this year, will likely skate in Hjalmarsson’s place.