Blackhawks

Nick Schmaltz likely playing, Corey Crawford starting vs. Jets

Nick Schmaltz likely playing, Corey Crawford starting vs. Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Nick Schmaltz should play, despite a hard fall into the boards at morning skate, and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night at MTS Centre.

Schmaltz went down hard toward the end of skate and was slow to get to his feet. He immediately went to the dressing room but coach Joel Quenneville said Schmaltz, “came out of it all right,” and was “very likely” to play.

The Blackhawks are entering this Circus Trip — their final one according to the Chicago Tribune — on an 11-game point streak. Success has come aplenty for the Blackhawks at home. Now to get that same game, which has steadily improved, on the road.

“That was what we’ve been talking about. We want to build on what we’ve done in the past 11 games,” Andrew Desjardins said. “It’s good to have that confidence coming in but, again, it’s a tough schedule. We just have to play the right way, do the right things, and everything will take care of itself.”

The Blackhawks start this seven-game road trip with a Jets team that, despite having several injuries, has collected points in five of its last six games (4-1-1).

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“You look at Winnipeg, [the Jets] have done a nice job here despite missing several guys. They find a way to get points and put themselves in a good spot,” Quenneville said. “There’s a real big pack in the middle; everybody seems to be just around the .500 mark. The way we’ve been playing, we’re fortunate where we are in the standings. We’ve been playing much better recently, coming off one of our better games all year last game. There’s a tremendous pack where everybody’s in the mix and there are no easy games.”

Meanwhile, on the injury front, Tyler Motte (lower body) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) continue to skate in Chicago. Quenneville said there’s “potential” the two could meet the Blackhawks on this trip.

Broadcast information

7 p.m.

TV: CSN

Live Stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Vinnie Hinostroza-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Dennis Rasmussen-Nick Schmaltz

Andrew Desjardins-Marcus Kruger-Richard Panik

Defensive pairings

Duncan Keith-Brian Campbell

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries

Tyler Motte (lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body)

Jets lines (via Winnipeg Sun)

Marko Dano-Mark Scheifele-Patrik Laine

Nikolaj Ehlers -Nic Petan-Blake Wheeler

Quinton Howden-Adam Lowry-Brandon Tanev

Alexander Burmistrov-Andrew Copp-Chris Thorburn

Defensive pairings

Josh Morrissey-Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom-Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot-Paul Postma

Goaltender

Connor Hellebuyck

Injuries

Bryan Little (lower body), Drew Stafford (upper body), Shawn Matthias (lower body), Mathieu Perreault (upper body), Joel Armia (lower body), Tyler Myers (lower body), Kyle Connor (upper body), Alex Burmistrov (upper body)

Corey Crawford Keeps 2018-19 Mask Design

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USA Today

Corey Crawford Keeps 2018-19 Mask Design

Corey Crawford is a man who knows what he likes. Hockey By Design on Twitter shared a photo of Crawford’s mask for the 2019-20 season and it looks like he will be rocking the same airbrush mask he did last season. The design, by Stephane Bergeron of Griff Airbrush, features the Blackhawks logos and feathers backed a by a sleek black mask. What can we say, Crawford keeps it classic.

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Blackhawks mailbag: Could more trades be coming before 2019-20 season opener?

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AP

Blackhawks mailbag: Could more trades be coming before 2019-20 season opener?

Charlie Roumeliotis answers your Blackhawks and hockey-related questions. Be sure to chime in using the hashtag #HawksMailbag on Twitter for a chance to have your question answered in the next edition. 

Is there any chance we see the Hawks make a trade before the season starts?

The Blackhawks had as active a summer as any team, revamping their roster and filling out their depth through trades and free agency. And because of that, it's going to be an extremely competitive training camp.

While the organization acknowledged that it's important to be 26, 27 players deep throughout the course of an 82-game season, the Blackhawks have a handful of players fighting for the same spot or two: Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik, Alex Nylander, Brendan Perlini, Dylan Sikura and Anton Wedin. Heck, even Kirby Dach.

August is always the dead period around the NHL. But come September, it wouldn't be surprising to see some movement around the league when teams figure out what they have on the ice. Training camp and preseason games are a time for GMs to evaluate who may be getting squeezed out, whether there's a breakout prospect emerging and it's also when the pressure point of having to be compliant with the cap.

The Blackhawks could be one of those teams looking to make a tweak or two before Opening Night, but don't expect anything significant.

Do you think Nylander makes the team this year or does he spend another season in the AHL? If he does makes the team, who do you see him fitting on a line with?

Alex Nylander is going to be given a fair shot to make the Blackhawks out of training camp, and it would be a disappointment if he didn’t. He was taken No. 8 overall in 2016 and simply hasn’t taken that next step in his development yet.

Perhaps the situation in Buffalo played a role in that, but it will truly be up to Nylander whether he does unlock his true potential in Chicago. There isn’t a reason for him not to. It’s a much healthier situation and the spotlight isn’t on him.

If Nylander does make the team, expect him to play with offensively-gifted players — guys who can help bring out the best in his abilities and think the game at the same level. But playing with those types of players also means you're drawing top competition on a nightly basis, so he will have to earn it.

Do you think all the additions this summer may be a strategic move to help prepare the Hawks for the expansion draft? (Keeping the prospects off the team till midseason or something so they remain draft protected/ineligible?)

Good question. The summer of 2020 is going to be a fascinating one for the Blackhawks because that's when teams are going to start making some moves ahead of the 2021 expansion draft. And as of right now, the Blackhawks are going to expose a really good player, whether they pick the seven forwards and three defensemen option or the eight skater one.

Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews all have no-movement clauses, so they must be protected (unless the player approves of being exposed, which is highly unlikely). Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome are two others who must be protected, so that's six right there. Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw are two others who are eligible. Same with Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy. And if Erik Gustafsson signs an extension, he must be protected also.

Again, the list is deep. But to answer your original question, the primary focus this summer was to fill needs across the roster (physicality and defensive-minded players) and doing so through trades was the best possible option because they were able to get guys with term and a reasonable cap hit. Free agency is where the overpayment happens. The goalie situation for the Blackhawks is one to watch ahead of the 2021 expansion draft. 

As far as prospects go, Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach will not be eligible for the expansion draft no matter how many games they play in this season and next because the draft happens before the 2021-22 calendar season. So that will not play a role in the organization's decision regarding when they play in the NHL.

What are your expectations for the goaltending tandem in Rockford? Delia appears to be the current starter, but Lankinen was really impressive this summer for Finland. Small-ish sample size, but he was phenomenal. Do you think it will end up being an even split at some point?

Collin Delia may have signed a three-year extension with the Blackhawks, but that doesn’t mean the organization doesn’t want to give Kevin Lankinen a strong look also. Delia has earned the right to be the starter, but the split between he and Lankinen will likely be closer to 50-50 if both goalies are performing.

Lankinen was sensational between the pipes for Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, helping lead his country to a gold medal. But Delia is also taking significant steps in his development and doing so at a rapid pace. It should be a healthy competition in Rockford.

With so much prospect talk focused on Dach, Boqvist, & Delia (and rightfully so) is there a dark horse prospect (I'm talking about that under the radar grinder) fans should keep their eyes on & where are they expected to be playing this year so we can follow?

Two prospects come to mind when discussing potential dark horses: MacKenzie Entwistle and Philipp Kurashev. Both of them will be playing in Rockford this season.

Entwistle and Kurashev took significant steps in their development this past season, with Entwistle playing a key role in the Guelph Storm winning the OHL championship and Kurashev leading the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships in scoring with six goals in seven games.

Entwistle is a player who knows exactly what his role will be in the NHL and has already embraced it: a bottom-six forward, reliable penalty killer and a leader on and off the ice. And that’s something the Blackhawks value about him.

Kurashev is more offensively skilled and has some sneaky upside to be a potential breakout player as a fourth-round pick. Keep an eye on him.

Is it October yet?

This really has felt like a long summer, hasn’t it? We’re almost there, Zane. 

A few checkpoints are coming up on the schedule though that may help speed up the process: Traverse City prospects tournament from Sept. 6-11, training camp festival on Sept. 15 and the first preseason game on Sept. 16. We're getting closer.

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