Blackhawks’ Nick Schmaltz not expected to play vs. Wild

The 21-year-old hopes to return Saturday,

Nick Schmaltz is not expected to be back in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup Thursday against the Minnesota Wild after already missing the last two games with an upper-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville told WGN Radio this morning.

Quenneville added that the team is “hopeful” he can play Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.

The 21-year-old Schmaltz missed the last 12 minutes of the Hawks’ season opener, the last 58 minutes of the second game and did not travel for Chicago’s road trip earlier this week to Toronto and Montreal. He has played a mere 16:10 this season.

When healthy, Schmaltz has centered the second line with Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane as his wingers. The trio have combined for five goals and nine assists this season, with Schmaltz accounting for two goals and one assist. He also has a 33 percent success rate on faceoffs.