Chicago Blackhawks’ Saad, DeBrincat, Crawford To Play At Bruins

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: Gustav Forsling
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: Gustav Forsling /

The Chicago Blackhawks play their fourth preseason game tonight when they visit the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Blackhawks’ roster has been released, and it tilts toward younger participants.

We’ve got more Chicago Blackhawks preseason hockey on our hands, folks. The Blackhawks, coming off a 3-2 loss to Columbus on Saturday, will visit the Boston Bruins tonight at 6 p.m. (WGN, WGN Radio).

Helpfully, the beats have gotten hold of the Blackhawks’ roster for tonight’s affair. Let’s take a look, courtesy CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers:

My one question about this roster relates to defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who was put on waivers yesterday with hope of him heading back to the Rockford IceHogs. I’m not exactly sure if the Blackhawks hadn’t planned on dumping Svedberg before this game and changed their minds, but I wouldn’t expect him to suit up tonight regardless.

We get some more help on how things make look on the ice tonight from Blackhawks TV’s Eric Lear:

Analyzing the lineup

This forward lineup is definitely trending younger. Guys like Lance Bouma, Tommy Wingels and Jordin Tootoo are your fourth-line veterans, and Tomas Jurco isn’t terribly far from that distinction. But most all of the other Blackhawks forwards tonight are going to be young guns.

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This means we get a look at the likes of prospects Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden, Laurent Dauphin, as well as familiar faces in Brandon Saad, Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza and Tanner Kero. And don’t forget about foreign import David Kampf, who is getting top-line drawing for a second preseason game. Richard Panik is also on the roster, but it doesn’t look like he was on any the morning skate lines.

On the defensive end, assuming Svedberg doesn’t play, the group will be seven-deep. Connor Murphy, Jan Rutta and Cody Franson will lead the charge in front of a bunch of young guys (though Murphy isn’t that old). Gustav Forsling, Ville Pokka, Erik Gustafsson and Jordan Oesterle are on the roster tonight as well. It’s not clear which six of these guys will suit up.

Corey Crawford gets the task of playing behind this group, which should certainly be interesting. Collin Delia is also on the roster, and it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if he saw some time tonight regardless of how the game plays out.

What they’ve done so far

Three of the Blackhawks’ four points leaders this preseason have based their success on being helpers. Schmaltz and Patrick Sharp each have four points, with seven of their total eight coming on assists (the only outlier being Schmaltz’s killer top-shelf goal against Columbus). All three of Panik’s points are assists as well.

Saad has added three goals, all on his hat trick against Detroit. Forsling, Franson and Oesterle each share the team lead in defenseman points with two.

The Blackhawks’ goaltenders have generally solid numbers this preseason, the result of facing a ton of shots and finding saves more often than not. Crow his a .968 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average while facing 31 shots, while Dellia (in a backup role) has a perfect percentage on eight shots faced.

Next: Rockford IceHogs' Roster Taking Shape

Overall, there have been a fair number of positives for the Blackhawks this preseason. It’d be great to see this lineup, with many youngsters, build upon that tonight.