Blackhawks: Predicting the opening night roster for 2021
By Jimmy Lynch
The supposed NHL start is just a month away, and it would be a lot of fun to take a look at a few potential lineups that we could see next season. Things are going to look a little different for the Chicago Blackhawks next year.
Losing Brandon Saad is going to hurt the Blackhawks almost as much as losing Corey Crawford. Saad was a big piece of the team’s depth and one that could play in any situation. I think people forget that the team brought him back because Chicago lacked the presence that Marian Hossa brought to the team.
Chicago is going to have a very challenging season next year. Thanks to the shortened time frame, the team might be faced with multiple back-to-back days of hockey throughout the season, and their opponents are not going to roll over for them on any given night.
With the shortened season, every game matters so much more. All of the Blackhawks players, even the guys potentially scratched, will have to be willing to give their all for the team to win some games.
So without further ado, here is one potential lineup we could see on opening night for the Blackhawks.
Dominik Kubalik – Jonathan Toews – Pius Suter
Alex DeBrincat – Dylan Strome – Patrick Kane
Alex Nylander – Kirby Dach – Andrew Shaw*
Mattias Janmark – Lucas Wallmark – Ryan Carpenter
Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Nikita Zadorov – Adam Boqvist
Calvin de Haan – Connor Murphy
Scratched: David Kampf, Ian Mitchell Zack Smith
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After everything that Brent Seabrook has been through the past year, there is no doubt in my mind that he deserves to start the season alongside his old partner Duncan Keith. While that pairing might not last through even that first game, Seabrook has earned the opportunity to start the season on that top pair.
While I think the third line of Nylander Dach and Shaw could be great for the Blackhawks, it is important to note that we do not know yet whether Shaw will be back for the season due to his past injuries. If he does miss more time next season, I would like to see Janmark on the third line and Kampf in his spot.
The Blackhawks defense shows improvement from where they were last season, just with the names on paper. I think de Haan and Murphy could be a great shut down pairing while Zadorov and Boqvist both have amazing potential with this team.
The door is still open for next season’s lineup in Chicago. Based on how next season is looking, Chicago might have a few extra players around with the team in case someone gets hurt or sick. This means we could see even more players throughout the season.
However, next season goes, I hope the lineup is constantly changing to give different player opportunities throughout the lineup. Toews and Kane are not going to be the Blackhawks’ top guys forever, and hopefully, the team can try and give some of their other players opportunities together to build some chemistry.