Blackhawks week ahead: Preseason begins for Chicago

Chicago opens its preseason slate with three games this week, highlighted by Artemi Panarin’s return to the United Center.

The Chicago Blackhawks return to action Tuesday in their preseason opener when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets and Artemi Panarin at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Panarin, Tyler Motte and a draft pick were traded to Columbus in exchange for forward Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a draft pick during the offseason.

Chicago’s three-game week starts Tuesday in Columbus. The Hawks then host Detroit on Thursday before the Blue Jackets come to town Saturday.

Let's take a look at the upcoming week in Blackhawks’ hockey (all times Central):

Monday - Idle

The Battle of New York takes center stage at Madison Square Garden while Minnesota crosses the border to play Winnipeg. Both games will be on NHL Network.

Around the NHL: CAR at BUF, MTL at BOS, NYI at NYR, WSH at NJ, TOR at OTT, CGY vs. EDM (SS games)

Central Division: MINN at WPG

Tuesday - Blackhawks at Blue Jackets, 6 p.m. (CSN-Plus, NHLN-US)

Saad, who played the past two seasons with the Blue Jackets, makes his return to Columbus for the first time. It won’t be weird seeing Saad back in a Blackhawks sweater, however, Panarin wearing No. 9 for Columbus will certainly take time to get use to.

Around the NHL: DET at BOS, PITT at BUF, CAR at TB, OTT at TOR, ANA at SJ

Central Division: FLA at NSH (SS games), STL at DAL, VGK at COL, FLA at NSH

Wednesday - Idle

Washington will be in Montreal while Calgary hosts Vancouver. Both games will be on NHL Network.

Around the NHL: DET at PITT, NJ at NYR, NYI at PHI, PHI at NYI, TB at CAR, WSH at MTL, VAN at CGY, ARI at ANA

Central Division: CBJ at STL, EDM at WPG

Thursday - Detroit at Chicago, 7:30 p.m. (WGN)

The Hawks preseason home-opener will be against former arch rival Detroit. The game will give Chicago fans their first up close look at defenseman Connor Murphy, who was acquired from Arizona in the offseason in exchange for three-time Stanley Cup champion Niklas Hjalmarsson. It also could give fans a look at star prospect Alex DeBrincat as he looks to crack the roster and Chicagoland native Tommy Wingles, who advanced to the Eastern Conference Final last spring with Ottawa.

The Chicago sports world won’t be solely focused on the Hawks though with the Cubs opening a key divisional series in Milwaukee.

Around the NHL: VAN at LA, NJ at MTL, PHI at BOS, VGK at SJ

Central Division: WPG at MINN, DAL at COL

Friday - Idle

St. Louis visits Washington while Anaheim host Los Angeles. Both games will be on NHL Network.

Around the NHL: PITT at CBJ, BUF at TOR, NYR at NYI, ARI at CGY, VAN at EDM, at LA at ANA

Central Division: STL at WSH, NSH at TB

Saturday - Columbus at Chicago, 7:30 p.m. (CSN-Plus, NHLN-US)

It’s a welcome back party for Panarin, who scored at least 30 goals and 70 points in his two seasons in Chicago. Panarin captured the Calder Trophy in 2016 as the league’s top rookie after leading all rookies with 77 points (30 goals, 47 assists).

Around the NHL: LA at VAN, BOS at DET, CAR at WSH, MTL at OTT, NYR at NJ, TOR at BUF, SJ at ARI

Central Division: COL at MINN, DAL at STL, WPG at EDM

Sunday - Idle

St. Louis will visit the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins with the game televised on NBC Sports Network.

Around the NHL: FLA at TB, VGK at ANA

Central Division: NSH at CBJ, MINN at COL, STL at PITT