The Chicago Blackhawks earned a 6-4 victory against the Washington Capitals in their season opener, but their lines will still be a little different on Saturday.
Ben Smith, 25, is projected to play on the third line while Jimmy Hayes will probably be a healthy scratch.
“We want to get everybody in here the next few games before we get too far into the season,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenenville told the Chicago Tribune.
Smith is a former sixth round pick that’s been slowly working his way up the depth charts in recent years. He had 47 points in 54 AHL games last season and got his name on the Stanley Cup after replacing an injured Marian Hossa for one Stanley Cup Final game.
The Blackhawks entered the season with predominantly the same cast that captured the Cup mere months ago, but they did part ways with some of their complimentary players. That’s created an opportunity for Smith and Hayes to battle for a regular spot on the defending champions.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.
The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.
Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.
The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.
Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.
DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.
The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.
Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.
Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.
As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.
“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”