When the NHL laid out its 24-team playoff format, it was originally assumed that players who signed entry-level contracts during the pause - which began on March 12 due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic - wouldn't be eligible to participate in the postseason.
That may not be the case.
On Thursday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that we should expect the June 1 entry-level signing deadline to be pushed back another month while the NHL and NHLPA to negotiate the possibility of entry-level players signed during the pause joining their clubs for the potential postseason.
That could mean - after sneaking in under the playoff format at No. 12 in the West and set to take on the No. 5-seeded Oilers - the Blackhawks might be able to add some defensive depth in the form of top defensive prospect Ian Mitchell. Mitchell signed a three-year deal with the team in April.
Drafted by the Hawks in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Mitchell spent the past three seasons at the University of Denver. He captained the Pioneers this year and set a career high in goals (10) and points (32) through 36 games.
For the 24-team postseason, it was reported that clubs will be able to carry 28 players and unlimited goalies for (targeted) July training camps, the play-in round and playoffs to follow. Given the extra roster spots, Chicago would gladly take Mitchell to add some depth on defense.
The team that snuck into the mix for the Eastern Conference under the league's format, the No. 12-seeded Montreal Canadiens, might get a boost if they're able to add defensive prospect Alexander Romanov to their squad.