Preseason opener roster set, Captain and mini-serious to skate in Saskatoon

Here’s the roster the Blackhawks will travel to Saskatoon with tomorrow for the first preseason game against the Oilers.  This info has been relayed from today’s practice sessions by Jesse Rogers and Chris Kuc on their respective Twitter accounts.

The Blackhawks couldn’t resist the temptation, both Toews brothers will suit up.  Ray Emery and Alexander Salak will be the goaltenders.  I imagine they’ll split the time some how, but that isn’t clear.  Making their unofficial pro debuts are 2011 draft picks Mark McNeill, Brandon Saad and Phillip Danault.

Emery, Rostislav Olesz, Jamal Mayers, Sami Lepisto and Steve Montador see their first real game action as members of the Blackhawks organization.

These are not the lines.  Those should be released on the Hawks’ main site sometime Tuesday afternoon.

Forwards

Rostislav Olesz  -  Jonathan Toews  -  Ben Smith

Viktor Stalberg  -  Marcus Kruger  -  Jimmy Hayes

Brandon Saad  -  Phillip Danault  -  Jamal Mayers

Kyle Beach  -  Mark McNeill  -  David Toews

Defense

Sami Lepisto  -  Nick Leddy

Ryan Stanton  -  Steve Montador

Joe Lavin  -  Brian Fahey (AHL contract)

John Scott

Goaltenders

Ray Emery

Alexander Salak

-As you can see, someone will have to sit out.  I’d expect John Scott to play.  It is noteworthy though when you look at whose going.  Just the other day it was reported that Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks have told Scott to concentrate on defense.  Here, we can see he’s cleverly placed as the emergency forward in lieu of a late scratch.

-Thinking back ten days to the David Toews acquisition – I can’t help but recall Stan Bowman, according to Toews himself, asserting the team wasn’t doing his older brother and Hawks’ Captain any favors by picking up his younger brother and giving him a new opportunity.

David Toews does not have a contract, that we know of, with the Blackhawks.  They acquired his rights on September 9th and presumably he’s here to win a spot on the 50-man or a minor league deal in Rockford.  Here we see David Toews, who is not a realistic NHL prospect at this stage, getting prime, coveted preseason game ice time ahead of signed and better current organizational prospects such as Rob Klinkhammer, Philippe Paradis, Rob Flick, Mirko Hoefflin, Chris DiDomenico et al.  Favors are different from an organization trying to capture supplemental intrigue and September spotlight; the easy headlines locally, across Canada and on NHL.com.  In the big picture, David Toews getting 10 minutes of exhibition action in the preseason opener won’t mean much.  But to another more deserving prospect at this stage, it’s a raw deal.

–A rarity in the NHL – the Edmonton Oilers have two preseason games schedule Tuesday night.  So the Blackhawks will face a split squad makeup in Saskatoon, while the rest of the Oilers host the Minnesota Wild at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

We don’t have an official roster for Edmonton (I’ll post it here when it becomes available) but Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark are staying home to face the Wild.

[update]  Here’s what we know for sure tonight according to a published report by the Edmonton Journal.

Oilers will bring a first line of 2011 Draft first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, centering for reacquired veteran Ryan Smyth and right winger Jordan Eberle.

–Tomorrow’s Oilers-Hawks game will be played at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon.  Legendary rockers Pearl Jam play the facility tonight.  If you’re in Chicago, the only place you can watch the game is at ChicagoBlackhawks.com.  I’d anticipate plenty of upload and buffering issues.  And the Hawks will spin that into a story about how passionate and enthusiastic their fans are of course.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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4 Responses to Preseason opener roster set, Captain and mini-serious to skate in Saskatoon

  1. Nugent-Hopkins tweeted that he is playing too.

  2. Chris, I actually like your lines as stated above. It will be interesting to see how this group of young forwards performs. Outside of Toews the elder, Stalberg and Mayers, this is a very inexperienced group. The defense looks like it could be pretty solid, in spite of the absence of the top three (what a difference a year makes). Let’s get it on!

  3. Interesting take on the inclusion of David Toews. While I agree that its probably more of a publicity move than anything else, I’ve always found David to be somewhat of an underrated prospect by most accounts, buried and forgotten in what was an ever improving prospect pool for the Islanders. While he may not have much of an NHL future, I’d consider him a legitimate prospect and perhaps the possbility of playing alongside his brother gives him some extra motivation to elevate his game to the next level.

    Personally, with the assumption that this is simply a publicity stunt aside, I think the Blackhawks are dressing David in this game to try and divulge what they truly have in him and whether or not he’s worth handing a contract too. From what I saw from him in the Prospect Tourney (I saw all three games) and so far in camp, I’d say it wouldn’t hurt to give him a contract and let him develop in the AHL or ECHL.

    • It wouldn’t hurt and they have a spot to blow I suppose. As your point though, he’s a guy who is so far off from being at this level, I don’t see the point in giving him ice time over someone who has actually earned it. I don’t like it. Scrimmage is where a guy like David Toews should be evaluated. He has a nice shot when he can get it off but in every sense his reaction time is ECHL level. On Saturday I saw him get a centering pass at the goalmouth from Bickell behind the net. Toews was alone and wound up being pressured by the dman who was checking Bickell. Nothing against the guy, I hope he develops and makes it. But he’s not of this level right now.

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