BREAKING: Chicago Blackhawks Officially Complete Major Move With Nikita Zaitsev

Published January 17, 2024 at 2:27 PM
BY SKY
     
The Chicago Blackhawks have made an official move in response to defenseman Nikita Zaitsev's injury, placing him on the Injured Reserve (IR) list due to a right knee injury, according to a report by NBC Sports Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis.

To address the gap in the active roster, the team has called up Louis Crevier from AHL Rockford.

Zaitsev, who played for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in the recent shootout win against the Sharks, left the game after sustaining the injury.

The 32-year-old defenseman had been a regular in the Blackhawks' lineup, playing in all eight games since the start of the year, bouncing back from a brief absence in 2023 due to illness.


Initially sidelined as a healthy scratch at the start of the season, Zaitsev took on a bigger role in the lineup last month, especially as injuries affected the team across various positions.


While the defensive unit recently welcomed back Seth Jones, veteran Connor Murphy is now listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Zaitsev is the only defenseman on the IR, joining an astonishing eight forwards, many of whom would typically feature in the team's top six if healthy.

Zaitsev's hefty seven-year, $31.5 million contract is set to conclude next summer. This season, he has contributed more offensively with increased zone starts in the offensive end, amassing 2 goals and 5 assists for a total of 7 points in 26 games.

His defensive partnership with rookie Kevin Korchinski has been noteworthy, boasting the best possession control with a 46.9% expected goals share, according to MoneyPuck. Interestingly, Korchinski has shown more robust defensive performances alongside Zaitsev compared to pairings with Jones or Murphy.

In response to Zaitsev's absence, the Blackhawks have summoned Louis Crevier for the second time this season. Standing tall at 6-foot-8 and weighing nearly 230 lbs., Crevier featured in 13 games between December 2 and January 9, registering three assists with a -7 rating and averaging 16 minutes and 8 seconds of ice time per game.

The 22-year-old, a seventh-round pick in 2020, has yet to find the back of the net since May 25, 2022, during the QMJHL postseason with the Québéc Remparts. In 80 games with AHL Rockford since transitioning to the professional ranks in 2022, Crevier has accumulated 10 assists with a -1 rating.
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