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Blackhawks give up on Kyle Beach, deal him to Rangers

2013-2014 Chicago Blackhawks Headshots

2013-2014 Chicago Blackhawks Headshots

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Updated: January 8, 2014 6:13AM

Erik Karlsson, taken by Ottawa with the 15th pick in the 2008 NHL draft, won the Norris Trophy in 2012. Jordan Eberle, taken by Edmonton with the 22nd pick, was an All-Star in his second season.

Kyle Beach was taken before both of them, by the Blackhawks at No. 11. But the enigmatic forward never could crack the Hawks’ roster and officially went bust Friday, when he was dealt to the New York Rangers for forward Brandon Mashinter.

Of the top 17 picks in the 2008 draft, Beach is the only one who has yet to play an NHL game.

“There’s been a lot of guys that have made that next step and got a chance here,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I guess you’ve got to earn it. Some guys got the opportunity based on how they were playing.”

Mashinter played in six games with the Rangers this season and has 23 NHL games. The 6-4, 220-pounder has no points but five fights in his career. He was assigned to Rockford of the American Hockey League.

Quenneville said Beach, who had 41 goals and 35 assists in 169 games with the IceHogs, could finally get his NHL shot with the Rangers, though he’ll continue to play in the AHL for now.

“You get a fresh breath of air when you go to a new place,” Quenneville said. “The opportunity is probably going to be there and you’ve got to take advantage of it. You wish him well.”

Injury report

Michal Handzus returned to the lineup after missing two games with an illness. Andrew Shaw is “real close” to returning from an upper-body injury suffered late in the Dallas game on Tuesday, and Quenneville expects him to play Sunday against the Florida Panthers.

Bryan Bickell, out since Nov. 19 with a leg injury suffered in Colorado, should resume skating in the coming week. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin is still “a way” from returning, according to Quenneville.

Nordy track

Joakim Nordstrom has reached the NHL based on his defensive play, but he’s showing more of a nose for the net. In 15 games with Rockford, he had five goals — matching his career high, set in 43 games in Sweden last season.

“I’ve tried to get a little bit closer to the opponent’s net, and it seems like it’s paying off,” said Nordstrom, whose deflection of a pass from Patrick Kane pass led to a goal by Jeremy Morin on Thursday.


Twitter: @marklazerus

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