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Morning Skate Update: Bjork, Zaitsev to make their Blackhawks debuts

More new faces will be in the Chicago lineup on Saturday night.

NHL: JAN 14 Blackhawks at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Some news and notes ahead of the game Saturday night between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators.

Newly acquired defensemen Nikita Zaitsev and forward Anders Bjork will be making their Blackhawks debuts.

Just for reference, these were the lines and pairings at Friday’s practice, but it sounds like there will be some minor changes now that Bjork and Zaitsev are confirmed for the game. As noted above, Zaitsev will draw into the lineup in place of Ian Mitchell, though it’s unknown if his partner will be Andreas Englund or if the two newcomers will be split.

As for forwards, coach Luke Richardson stated post-practice that he wanted to utilize Bjork’s speed alongside Jason Dickson, so that’s at least one tweak from the lines above. Bjork will also likely be used on the penalty kill.

Of note, speed was the skill that Bjork emphasized in his own interview:

Richardson also spoke on how the focus for the rest of the season is building momentum with the current roster:

With all the new players on the Blackhawks, it’s probably going to be confusing for a little while, so here’s a handy guide to those players’ numbers:

Also, to put into perspective how much the Blackhawks are in transition as an organization, below are the longest-tenured Blackhawks, among the players who are currently healthy:

On Friday, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson spoke to the media to discuss the trade-deadline moves and his thoughts on the future of the organization. Here are a few of his comments from that media session:

For a more behind-the-scenes look, check out the the Blackhawks’ Every Shift Episode 3: Coming to Terms:

As for the Predators, their lines and pairings will somewhat be similar to their Thursday night game against the Florida Panthers. Of note, this will be the second game with Nashville for defenseman Tyson Barrie, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 28.

It’s unknown if Kevin Lankinen or Juuse Saros will be in net, but it’s likely Saros since Lankinen played two nights ago.

One likely change in terms of forwards is that Rasmus Asplund — acquired from the Buffalo Sabres — will make his debut for Nashville in place of AHL’er Zach Sanford.

On the backend, the Predators will be without defenseman Alexandre Carrier, who suffered an upper-body injury in the game against the Oilers and is expected to miss some time.

There was also a possibility that Filip Forsberg, who has been out day-to-day with an upper-body injury since Feb. 12, might be nearing a return, but Nashville general manager David Polie apparently suggested that return was unlikely for Saturday.