Five months after getting a workout with the Chicago Blackhawks, undrafted center Matthew Highmore will make his NHL debut on Thursday
The Chicago Blackhawks are rebuilding on the fly, as they try to insert more youth into their lineup. This is an option they’ve been exploring for a while, signing several undrafted free agents during the spring and summer of 2017. One of them was QMJHL graduate, center Matthew Highmore.
After impressing during a workout and in a preseason appearance in September, the Blackhawks added him to the organization. Following an impressive showing with their AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs (35 points in 56 games), Chicago is giving Highmore the chance of a lifetime. On Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, he will make his NHL debut.
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Highmore played in the QMJHL for the Saint John Sea Dogs for four seasons. In his final two seasons with them (129 regular season games), he put up 164 points, including 56 goals. The Blackhawks signed the undrafted free agent in March.
Back in September, Highmore made his lone preseason appearance against the Columbus Blue Jackets. After picking up an assist and showing potential in practice, Chicago decided to give him a chance in the AHL.
Other Saint John Sea Dogs alumni include Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Huberdeau, Thomas Chabot, and Charlie Coyle.
It appears Highmore will play on the Blackhawks third forward line as the right wing. He will be flanked by Nick Schmaltz at center and fellow rookie Alex Debrincat on the left wing. This is an interesting line that should give the Blackhawks a nice look at three guys who could be a part of their future.
Chicago is giving their younger players a chance to play. This might not be the best thing for the Blackhawks in the present. It’s weird to see them playing for the future right than trying to win now. But after years of contending, the Blackhawks are rebuilding. Highmore could be a part of their future.