Normally, a minor league team signing a player to a professional tryout contract isn’t newsworthy. But when the IceHogs signed a 25-year-old forward on Tuesday, it raised my eyebrows.
Rockford announced the signing of forward Dane Walters on Tuesday, a move that gives the IceHogs 15 forwards (including the recently suspended Cody Bass). That number does not include one of Joakim Nordstrom and Teuvo Teravainen, however; one of those two young forwards is expected to receive a one-way cab ride to Rockford before Kris Versteeg returns from injury on Wednesday night.
Another decision will need to be made at the NHL level when rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk returns. TvR has begun skating but apparently is not close to returning yet. Even with expanded rosters after the trade deadline, the Hawks would likely need to move salary to afford a roster with him included.
Walters, a right wing, had 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 27 games with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye this season. He’s listed at 6-0, 198 and his three games with Worcester (AHL) in 2012-13 are the highest level of hockey on his resume to date.
AHL’s Rockford IceHogs recall defenseman Kirill Gotovets from Indy Fuel of ECHL. #Blackhawks
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) February 12, 2015
The IceHogs now have nine defensemen on their active roster; only two of the nine, Stephen Johns and Ville Pokka, are right-handed. Rockford has 16 forwards on the roster, including Nordstrom and suspended Bass. No matter how you slice it, 24-25 players is a bloated roster for a team not doing anything any time soon.