Rockford, Illinois -. The Chicago Blackhawks announced Monday they have assigned forwards Luke Johnson, Tanner Kero, Martin Lundberg, Erik Gustafsson defenders, Robin Norell, Ville Pokka, and Lars Johansson keeper to Rockford IceHogs. The Blackhawks also released forwards Chris DeSousa and Jake Dowell their tryout agreements. All new players will report to the IceHogs training camp.
Dowell, 31, served as captain of the team IceHogs last season. In 72 games with Rockford, Dowell notched 11 goals and 24 assists. The native Eau Claire, WI played 274 games with Rockford during his career, scoring 31 goals and 64 assists for 95 points. He currently holds the record for most playoff games in the history of Rockford, appearing in 23 postseason games.
Kero, 24, returns to Rockford after a successful rookie campaign. He played 17 games with the Blackhawks last season with three points (1G, 2A), including his first NHL goal against the New Jersey Devils in November. Last season, Kero became the first rookie in IceHogs history to score 20 goals and finished the year with 39 points (20G-19A) in 60 games with Rockford.
DeSousa, 26, notched 13 points in 67 games with Rockford last season. He also played two games with ECHL affiliate Rockford, Indy fuel, having played in 20 games (7G, 9A) in 2014-15 for fuel. DeSousa signed an AHL contract with the club in April.
Johnson, 21, joins the IceHogs after playing three seasons with the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Grand Forks, ND native was a team member of the NCAA Division I championship in 2016 with current teammates Bryn Chyzyk in Rockford and Nick Schmaltz in Chicago. Johnson appeared in 43 games and had 11 goals and 11 assists while capturing the national championship. He was named to the All-Tournament team NCAA Midwest Region after scoring a goal in each game. Johnson was drafted # 134 overall in the fifth round by the Blackhawks in the NHL Entry Draft in 2013 and signed a 3-year contract with Chicago in April.
Lundberg, 26, enters his first season with the IceHogs after playing professionally in his native Sweden. Last season, he recorded career highs in points (21), goals (13) and assists (8) with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League. Lundberg has signed a one year contract with the Blackhawks in May.
Pokka, 22, Tornio, Finland appeared in all 76 games for the IceHogs last season and led all IceHogs defensemen with 45 points (10G-35A). In 2014-15, he received the Rookie of Year honors for Rockford after recording eight goals and 22 assists in 68 games.
Gustafsson, 24, split time last season with the Blackhawks and Rockford. He compiled three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 27 games with the IceHogs and 14 assists in 41 games for Chicago. Swedish defenseman made his NHL debut last October.
Norell, 21, played eight games with Rockford last season and recorded two assists. The Stockholm, Sweden native was drafted # 111 overall in the fourth round by the Blackhawks in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Johansson, 29, played the last three seasons with Frolunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League, where he compiled a record of 56-27-0 with 11 shutouts. Johansson has signed a one year contract with Chicago in May.
The IceHogs training camp list now consists of 19 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goaltenders. Rockford hosts a preseason contest against the Chicago Wolves on Thursday, October 6 before traveling to Milwaukee for a preseason Action Friday, October 7