The Chicago Blackhawks will open up the 2017-18 NHL season tonight, hosting the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
After a disappointing exit from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the hope is the Blackhawks can regain their form and make another run this season.
Now that the roster is set, we’ll have a better idea what the starting lineup might look like against the Penguins.
Here is my prediction:
Saad – Toews – Panik
Hartman – Schmaltz – Kane
Sharp – Anisimov – DeBrincat
Hayden – Kero – Wingels
Keith – Murphy
Forsling – Seabrook
Kempny – Rutta
With Saad and Toews reunited, I think we’ll see an uptick in production from the first line. The most important thing missing is Hossa and they’ll have to make do with Panik (or as I like to call him, Hossa lite).
It’s better for Kane that Hartman flanks him on the left side especially with Schmaltz centering. Hartman can play on the boards and get the puck back to Kane and Schmaltz from deep in the zone.
DeBrincat could benefit from playing with veterans like Sharp and Anisimov to get his bearings. I could see Debrincat spending time with Kane on the first power play unit throughout the season.
Once again defense is still a big question mark. Luckily the defense has a lot of young players that have the possibility of developing into better players.
Crawford is still the undisputed starting goalie and Forsberg has looked solid from what I’ve seen. Goaltending shouldn’t be a problem this season.
For the most part, the 2017-2018 Blackhawks look alright. This roster will get them to the playoffs, however, a deep playoff run could be taxing.