Blackhawks

Will Blackhawks make lineup changes for Game 3? 'We'll see'

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Will Blackhawks make lineup changes for Game 3? 'We'll see'

The euphoria of Game 2’s victory has passed. Now, it’s about the Blackhawks trying to fully take advantage of home ice.

There could be a lineup change but it probably won’t be on defense when the Blackhawks face the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night. When asked about the lineup, coach Joel Quenneville said, “we’ll see.” He said “status quo” heading into Game 2, when the Blackhawks didn’t change anything.

[RELATED - Blackhawks want to feed off Game 2 energy at home]

The Blackhawks had an optional skate on Thursday, so there were no forward lines and defensive pairs. Quenneville wasn’t parting with much info past that, “we’ll see.”

Quenneville did say that he told Kris Versteeg, who’s been a scratch since the Nashville Predators series, that “we expect him in this series.” Will it be tonight? Quenneville said he’s liked how Versteeg has approached the situation.

“He’s had a great week of practicing,” Quenneville said. “He’s not happy; he wants to play in the worst way. He puts himself in the position to be a candidate to get into the lineup. Last game we could have inserted him, but we’ll see.”

Defensively, the Blackhawks should remain the same. Kyle Cumiskey, whose Game 3 outing was his first postseason game since 2010, is expected to play again tonight. The defensemen said he felt better as the game went along on Tuesday.

“The first few shifts, I was nervous. It’s a high-pressure situation, for sure so there’s going to be nerves,” he said. “Playing in overtime that long, you don’t want to make big mistakes. Hopefully I’ll play more confident [tonight].”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]

For Anaheim, coach Bruce Boudreau is contemplating lineup decisions for Game 3.

“We’ll have a couple of guys take warm-up but we don’t know if we’re putting them in or not yet,” he said.

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks add another defenseman to pipeline, draft Nicolas Beaudin at No. 27

DALLAS — Despite taking Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks took a second defenseman at No. 27 with the selection of Nicolas Beaudin.

Beaudin is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound defenseman who prides himself on playing strong at both ends of the ice and tries modeling his game after Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins.

"I’m a two-way defenseman," Beaudin said. "I can provide offense, too. I’ve got a great IQ. I think in my zone I’m just getting better and better."

Beaudin is also a left-handed shot, which is something the Blackhawks could use more of in the organization along the blue line when it comes to impact-type players.

"Nicolas is a very efficient defender," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "He’s got a really nice skill set. He makes the game look pretty easy. He’s a smooth player, not a lot of panic to his game. He’s a good skater so when he has to turn back and get to the puck he can get there first. Usually he just gets his setup and makes the simple play.

"You watch him play and he makes it look really easy. He’s not a guy that’s getting run over a lot. He’s not a real big player, but he uses his brain really well and he had over a point a game, too. He’s got a good feel for making plays and scoring points."

The 18-year-old registered 69 points (12 goals, 57 assists) in 68 games with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL, and added three goals and eight assists in 10 postseason contests.

Beaudin is the third defenseman the Blackhawks have taken in the first round the last two years, with Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist being the other two.

"It’s a winning culture in Chicago," Beaudin said. "They won a lot. I know they’ve got some young guys coming in. For sure in the next few years I want to earn my place and I want to try to learn a lot from a guy like Duncan Keith."

Blackhawks select Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick

Blackhawks select Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick

DALLAS — For the first time since drafting Patrick Kane first overall in 2007, the Blackhawks owned a top-10 pick in the NHL Draft. There was speculation that Stan Bowman might get aggressive and trade the No. 8 selection for immediate help if a deal made sense.

Instead, the draft couldn't have unfolded more favorably for the Blackhawks, who elected to keep the pick and drafted defenseman Adam Boqvist.

“You can never have enough D," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on the NBCSN broadcast. "He moves the puck, he’s very active in the play, very dynamic in a lot of ways. He can help our power play down the road, I am looking forward to seeing how he does in the summer and going into camp."

"There’s opportunity here on the back end with our team, and it’s going to be competitive along the way, but certainly you got a guy that can move the puck and get involved offensively, those guys are hard to find.”

Boqvist is a 5-foot-11, 168-pound right-handed shot blue-liner who's drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson, given his skating and offensive ability.

"He likes to compare himself to Erik Karlsson quite a bit, which is good," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "When you watch him play, he's got that style to his game. You can sort of see he patterns his game after Erik. But he's honest too, he says I know I'm not Erik Karlsson, but I want to be my own player but I like the way he plays.

"Very likeable guy, upbeat kid, loves to play the game, has a passion for hockey. That's something that's always important because they're going to have to work their way up. Nothing comes easy even for players drafted this high. But you can tell he has a desire to keep getting better and to make it to the NHL."

He compiled 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games for the Brynas J20 squad in the SuperElit league, and added three goals and two assists in three playoff games. But his production dropped off when he moved up to the Swedish Hockey League, where he registered only one assist in 15 games.

As we mentioned in our NHL Draft Profile this week, there are a few concerns about Boqvist.

He's only 17 years old and his defensive work needs improvement, meaning the Blackhawks must be patient with his development. He's also sustained a couple head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds some risk to the equation, although Bowman denied having any concerns about that.

But there's clearly major upside if you're being compared to Karlsson as a best-case scenario.

"I think I need to improve my defensive play and need to be bigger and stronger," Boqvist said. "Of course, my offense can be better, too, so almost everything."