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Blackhawks Bits: Opening night roster appears set

Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

On the eve of the 2023-24 season opener, the Blackhawks seem to have finalized the list of players who’ll be around for the opening handful of games.

For now, at least, Isaak Phillips appears to be the odd man out on the blue line after being assigned to Rockford on Monday morning.

That leaves the blue line comprised of, in no particular order: Seth Jones, Connor Murphy, Wyatt Kaiser, Kevin Korchinski, Alex Vlasic, Jarred Tinordi and Nikita Zaitsev. How long Korchinski hangs around Chicago this season will remain one of the intriguing storylines for the season’s opening month, along with how much ice time youngsters Vlasic and Kaiser are given.

The forward group is a little more unsettled due to players who are battling injuries as the season opens:

Ready for the first projected lineup of the regular season?

Here ya go:

A few things of note: Reichel was skating with Athanasiou and Kurashev on his wings for much of the preseason, so it’ll be interesting to see if that trio is reunited when Kurashev is back from injury. Ryan Donato on the top line was part of the preseason rotation but that also seems like it could be changed when that original second line is reunited and Tyler Johnson/Taylor Raddysh need new homes in the lineup.

Also of note on the blue line: Wyatt Kaiser spent most of the preseason skating with Seth Jones but now appears to be flipping over to the right side opposite the left-handed Jarred Tinordi. Something to keep an eye on, as the Blackhawks do not have a ton of right-handed blue liners in the system right now but the left-handed Kaiser could alleviate some of that if he proves capable of flipping sides.

Here’s what to expect in the Chicago net for the first two games of the season:

The Blackhawks will not name a permanent captain for the season but here’s how the “A” will rotate across sweaters throughout the season:

The 2023-24 Blackhawks season opens Tuesday night in Pennsylvania against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m.

One more sleep.

[MONDAY UPDATE] Just after this post went up, the Blackhawks tweeted out the official roster for opening night:

Talking Points