Blackhawks Prep For Preseason Opener

As the Blackhawks continue training camp, their eyes can now focus on the first preseason game of the 2017-18 season: tomorrow night in Columbus. Brandon Saad and Artemi Panarin will face players with whom they played only a few short months ago as the two clubs kick off their new season.

On Monday morning, the Blackhawks featured the following lines in practice:

Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Richard Panik

Alex DeBrincat – Nick Schmaltz – Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp – Artem Anisimov – Ryan Hartman

Lance Bouma – Tanner Kero – John Hayden

Of course there are a lot of variables in play when considering the lineup for the first preseason game, but coach Joel Quenneville was pretty outspoken about Nick Schmaltz as his second-line center over the weekend. He was also noticeably excited when commenting about the potential of a line with phenom Alex DeBrincat on a line with Schmaltz and Patrick Kane.

But before fans start writing these lines in stone, let’s not forget other players in the mix for the roster. Veterans Tommy Wingels. Tomáš Jur?o and Jordin Tootoo have NHL contracts with the Blackhawks. David Kampf has come over from Europe with hopes of making the opening night roster. And prospects Vinnie Hinostroza, Kyle Baun and Laurent Dauphin all have NHL experience.

Certainly the Blackhawks’ cap situation will come into play when making final roster decisions, but the lines above certainly provide more hope for the Hawks’ ability to roll at least three lines with some offensive potential more regularly than last season.

19 thoughts on “Blackhawks Prep For Preseason Opener

  1. Bouma – Wingels – Tootoo would make a very nice line…..

    …. in Rockford. All season.

    These three guys will sail through waivers effortlessly. They will get their full salaries without impacting the salary cap as well.

  2. MRFENN92

    yup- rather see Hayden/Hino than older slow bodies…

    Rather- see Kampf too (based on what he has shown versus other prospects) – of course- he could show his fleas in Pre-season… get sent to Rock to get rid of them…
    but- really like his skating/IQ so far…

    and then there is Dauphin- out of Kero/kampf/Dauphin… me thinks – Kero is the “steady ” Q guy… but I personally am rooting for the other 2 quicker/Higher upside potential from Kampf/Dauphin

  3. I’m as excited about DeBrincat as most Hawk fans but I can’t shake the niggling feeling that we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves with the D-Cat expectations. Or maybe a better way to say it is the expectations are reasonable but we’re expecting too much too soon. It’s not unlike the TT expectations a few years ago when we saw the skill and get disappointed that he wasn’t ready for the rough and tumble NHL. (he’s gotten better but still not there yet).

    We still have a couple weeks of training camp and all 6 preseason games so there’s a lot of time for things to change and get sorted out. I’d be very surprised if Fortin isn’t heard from in a positive way by the time the dust clears.

  4. And with that Anisimov’s contract, which was market value for a decent second line center, becomes out of whack at 3C. People were griping about Kruger making $3 million as a 3C, how will they react to Anisimov at $4.55 million?

    As Tab hints, the likelihood of the Cat sticking on the 2nd line out of camp is probably remote. Most feel he is ticketed for Rockford, which means Sharp or Anisimov gets bumped up, depending on how much Q is married to Schmaltz at 2C.

    If they can get these lines to work by the end of the year, that would be a pretty good 3 line rotation, better than what we had last year.

  5. Think Schmaltz starts at 2nd line center, Asimov even acknowledged it could be. Hoping to see Fortin get good look on 3rd or 4th line, could be an asset there.

  6. Please note that nowhere did I say the odds of DeBrincat sticking on the 2nd line were remote. I acknowledged that there are some other veterans in the mix for roster spots and cap hits will be a significant factor in deciding who stays and who’s in Rockford. If DeBrincat wins a job he wins a job – and someone else goes bye bye.

  7. I definitely hope to see Hayden make the team love his size and aggressive game. I believe he also has scoring ability.

  8. Well, there’s quite a bit of exciting talent in those lines. Will Q let the youngsters skate through growing pains? Can Schmaltz deliver the puck to his potential and current superstar wings? We shall see…

  9. The closer the season gets the more I hear about Sharp playing 2nd line winger that makes me want to stick a pencil in my eye. Sharp hasn’t been a top 6 forward since the Hawks where fresh outa Boston with a championship….that was a loooong time ago!

  10. Sharp is motivated to have a comeback season, just like Hossa did last year. And he’s healthy. As long as he stays that way, I say he scores 25 goals, or better. Anybody taking that bet?
    And after watching Q’s presser today, I get the feeling that he has pretty high hopes for Debrincat. Of course, the kid has to play his way onto the team, but it sounds like Q will give him every opportunity to do that. Let’s see how things progress, but I’m getting a strong positive feeling about this coming year.

  11. For me, I look forward to an exciting Hawks team. SB and Co. Seem as if they are working hard to a) create some balance of speed, grit and talent. b) looking towards the future and c) fielding a team that if nothing else should be fun to watch.

  12. With the way Bowman has aligned his 23 man roster, being $35,000 over the cap and Berube probably sent minors at some point. Recalling a minimum salary, likely a dman either Pokka, Oesterle or Gustafsson would have them $15,000 under the 75m for the Hossa ltir move, which may indicate that not many other roster moves will happen until season begins.

  13. I’ve been reading Q’s tea leaves for years. I don’t think I have ever heard him praise a player in camp as much as he has praised Schmaltz. I would be surprised if he doesn’t start the season as second-line center.

    He also loves Hayden. When he interjects a name at a presser w/o being asked you know that’s a really good sign.

    Agree that DeBrincat can make the team but he has to earn it over the next couple of weeks. He says Fortin can be “useful” which is a good sign but not determinative.

    He likes Franson for his “big body.” He has said that twice now. Faint praise but probably he will be thought good enough to stick (considering the competition).

  14. I will add another positive thought. Traverse City may not indicate that the Hawks farm system is stacked……but it did show that the farm system is far from dead.

  15. Two thoughts on the line combinations.

    1) One of the issues the last two playoffs in my mind was how easily teams shut down the Hawks second line. Not sure why that happened, but Kane and the Breadman seemed to not do well when not given space to work. With Panarin gone, and Schmaltz (another undersized player) penciled in with Kane, I wonder if they will encounter similar issues in the playoffs? Q mixes his lines often enough that I doubt that any one line is going to be together as consistently as the KPP line was the past 2 years. But it gives me pause to see a line that is so small out there. Playoff hockey is a different beast.

    2) I think Sharp deserves the benefit of the doubt for now. He will either perform adequately or not (or someone else will step up and outperform him…) In any event, he is accomplished enough in his career that I feel that he deserves a chance to show what he can (or can not) do. If someone younger and faster steps up, the contract Sharp signed is not going to get in the way of their development. So for now, relax and see what the old boy can do.

  16. Miroslav Anisimov hardly touched the puck through center ice, leaving it for Kane and Panarin allowing other teams to focus on them. This is a strong point of Schmaltz’s game so by putting him there is addressing the lack of room out there.

  17. WINGELS, BOUMA, KERO, TOOTOO and DEBRINKAT are all AHL players!!! Send them down now. Put WINGELS, BOUYMA, and TOOTOO on waivers-DO NOT NEED OLD WOOD!!!

    DEBRINKAT makes that 2nd libne way to light!!!!
    Sharp deserves more respect…His firstb year in DALLAS he was a top 6 forward…Why would DEBRINKAT be ahead of him!!!

    COACH Q needs to change and go with size and speed!!!

    SHARP TOEWS PANIK
    SAAD SCHMALTZ KANE
    JURCO ANISIMOV HARTMAN
    KEMPF DAUPHIN HINOSTROZA
    (HAYDEN and KNOTT extra)

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