Blackhawks

Myers: Blackhawks set first preseason lineup

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Myers: Blackhawks set first preseason lineup

Monday, Sept. 19, 2011
Posted: 5:22 p.m. Updated: 5:26 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
Brothers Jonathan and David Toews will be teammates and Ray Emery and Alex Salak will split time in goal when the Chicago Blackhawks open their preseason schedule against the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Other forwards scheduled to play Tuesday are Viktor Stalberg, Rostislav Olesz, Marcus Kruger, Ben Smith, Brandon Saad, Mark McNeill, Jamal Mayers, Kyle Beach, Jimmy Hayes and Phillip Danault.

The Blackhawks will also send seven defensemen: Steve Montador, Nick Leddy, John Scott, Sami Lepisto, Ryan Stanton, Brian Fahey and Joe Lavin.

Well have a young lineup tomorrow, coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. Itll be nice to see these guys play in an NHL game.

Game time is 8 p.m. CST and will be streamed live on chicagoblackhawks.com in the Chicago area.

Bolland messing with Toews

Dave Bolland was back to being a pest on Monday, aggravating Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in their afternoon scrimmage. Bolland hooked Toews a few times during the second half of their scrimmage.

He caught my hand pretty good off the draw and he kept messing with me, so I gave him a whack, Toews said.

Bolland said he was having some fun.

I think we all know how Tazer is so its always fun playing around with him, he said. Everyones getting ready for the real games now against some other teams.

Olesz shines

Rostislav Olesz had two good scrimmages on Monday, lined up mainly with Andrew Brunette and Toews. Olesz had a goal and two assists in the two games.

He had his best day today, Quenneville said. He was more comfortable, had good pace.

Toews agreed.

Hes a solid skater, has good hands and hes one of those strong, skilled European players who doesnt have too many holes in his game, he said. He can play on the power play and PK, play defensively, too, because hes strong and quick. Its not difficult to play with him.

Roster trimmed

The Blackhawks assigned forwards Mirko Hoefflin and Ludvig Rensfeldt, as well as goaltenders Mac Carruth, Johan Mattsson and Kent Simpson to their respective junior clubs on Monday afternoon.

The team roster now stands at 54 active players.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

After finishing 30th in goals against average (3.55) and 31st in penalty kill percentage (72.7) this past season, the Blackhawks are clearly making it a priority to patch up their defense this summer. And that's been evident with the acquisitions of defensive-minded defensemen Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta.

But it raises some interesting questions about the future of the Blackhawks blue line.

With the de Haan and Maatta additions, the Blackhawks now have five defensemen under contract through at least the 2021-22 season: Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million cap hit), Duncan Keith ($5.538 million), de Haan ($4.55 million), Maatta ($4.083 million) and Connor Murphy ($3.85 million). That's $24.8 million tied up to five guys.

The money isn't the primary concern, though. It's the limited amount of roster spots available. The Blackhawks don't have to immediately figure out how it's going to work a year from now and beyond, but it makes you wonder how the cards may eventually be shuffled.

Let's run through the situations:

— Erik Gustafsson had a breakout season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He's obviously not part of the five current players under contract after next season, putting the Blackhawks in a spot where they have to consider trading him or be comfortable with letting him walk for nothing if he isn't re-signed. (They could always trade his negotiating rights after next season and pull off a sign-and-trade as well, if it came to that).

And even if Gustafsson is re-signed, the Blackhawks would then have six players locked up for the 2020-21 season and on, and that's enough to submit a lineup.

— Henri Jokiharju, who was drafted No. 29 overall in 2017, is probably ready to take the next step and become an everyday player. Where does he fit into the long-term plans?

— Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018, likely needs one more year in the OHL before making the jump to the NHL, which would put him on a timeline to become part of the Blackhawks next season. Does he occupy that sixth spot if another one isn't opened by then?

— Nicolas Beaudin, who was drafted No. 27 overall in 2018, is expected to start the upcoming season in Rockford after four years in the QMJHL but might be NHL-ready by the 2020-21 campaign.

— And then there's Ian Mitchell, who's returning to Denver for his junior season and will serve as the team's captain. He's said all along that he intends to sign with the Blackhawks once he's finished with college, but does the organization value him enough to create a spot for him when he's ready?

To make things a little more complicated, the Seattle expansion draft is set to occur in 2021 and the same rules will apply as Vegas in 2017.

The Blackhawks have the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. All players with no-movement clauses at the time of the expansion draft (and who decline to waive them) must be protected; Keith and Seabrook have a NMC. And all first- and second-year pros are exempt; Jokiharju would have to be protected.

As of this moment, the Blackhawks are likely to use the eight-skater option, but they will also have valuable forwards to protect. They're going to lose a good player one way or another, and it's probably going to come from the defensive group. All of this comes into play when weighing roster decisions for next season and beyond.

As stated above, the Blackhawks do not have to make an immediate decision on the future of their blue line corps. They can play out the 2019-20 season with the group as currently constructed. But the decisions the Blackhawks have to face next season could impact how Stan Bowman operates the rest of this summer and throughout the upcoming campaign.

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WATCH: Blackhawks draft pick Kirby Dach throws out the first pitch at Wrigley in his first trip to Chicago

WATCH: Blackhawks draft pick Kirby Dach throws out the first pitch at Wrigley in his first trip to Chicago

Kirby Dach was taken by the Blackhawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft on Friday.

On Monday, the Blackhawks introduced him to the city of Chicago. Dach took his first trip to Chicago for his introductory press conference.

Later in the day, the Canadian threw out the first pitch at the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Dach didn't throw a strike, but it wasn't a blooper reel pitch either.

Watch Dach's first pitch in the video above.

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.