The Chicago Blackhawks wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, and now the team’s attention will be turned fully to their opening night roster.
The team has possibly tipped its hand on a few potential moves, including their backup goaltender position and their second line wingers, but there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered by the coaching staff and front office between now and Thursday night.
So who will make the final roster, and who will be cut loose? To answer that, we’ll provide our final predictions for the Blackhawks’ opening night lineup.
Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Lance Bouma, Alex DeBrincat, Ryan Hartman, John Hayden, Tomas Jurco, Patrick Kane, Tanner Kero, Richard Panik, Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Tommy Wingels
While a good number of players on this list are considered locks, there are a few that are up in the air. DeBrincat has impressed many with his skills in camp, and Joel Quenneville does seem to like him, leading us to include him on the final roster prediction.
There is a chance that the team dumps one of Lance Bouma or Tommy Wingels to keep Vincent Hinostroza on the roster, and Tomas Jurco is also a bit of a question mark, as the team could potentially choose to keep Hinostroza or Jordin Tootoo instead.
Defensemen: Cody Franson, Duncan Keith, Michal Kempny, Connor Murphy, Jordan Oesterle, Jan Rutta, Brent Seabrook
This group is a bit easier to predict, but there is definitely a question to be asked about whether Oesterle and Rutta can both make the team over Gustav Forsling, who has been projected to be a very good NHL player by this front office.
We had Forsling on our roster at the halfway point of camp, but further film study and his last few games have led us to drop him from the mix. He still has a lot of raw talent, but he’s been lacking polish on the ice, and Oesterle has been playing well enough to potentially wrest the final defensive spot away from him.
Goaltenders: Corey Crawford, Anton Forsberg
It seems all-but-given that Forsberg will make the squad over Jean-Francois Berube, as the goaltender hasn’t impressed much in game action or in practice.
Forsberg will likely get in the ballpark of 20 games this season, as Quenneville would prefer to rest Crawford and because of the high likelihood that the netminder will suffer an injury at some point during the season.