Traverse City, Mich.—
The Blackhawks will kick off their 2016 Rookie Tournament on Friday evening against the St. Louis Blues, with the following lines slated to start the game:
Tyler Motte -- Nick Schmaltz -- Alex DeBrincat
Radovan Bondra -- Graham Knott -- Alexandre Fortin
John Dahlstrom -- Luke Johnson -- Roy Radke
Bryn Chyzyk -- Nathan Noel -- Trevor Mingoia
Gustav Forsling -- Jeff King
Robin Norell -- Dmitry Osipov
Carl Dahlstrom -- Justin Lemcke
Most of the attention will be on the top line, with Motte and Schmaltz likely to compete for a spot on the Blackhawks roster at training camp, and DeBrincat a highly touted second-round pick in the 2016 Draft. The three combined for 94 goals—51 by DeBrincat—and 109 assists last season, so there could be plenty of offensive skill on display.
Bondra and Knott are both 2015 picks, likely to return to their major-junior clubs this season, and they'll be paired with Fortin, who entered July's Prospect Camp as a free-agent invite and left having made a deep impression with his speed and finishing ability. Overall, the trio boasts size and strong forechecking ability.
In the bottom six, Johnson and Chyzyk are fresh off a national championship with North Dakota (along with Schmaltz) and should provide grit and shutdown ability, while Dahlstrom is a natural goal-scorer.
On defense, the Blackhawks have pro experience on every pairing. Forsling has been touted as the team's best defensive prospect, with high-end skating and hockey sense in his arsenal, as well as a big shot from the blue line. Norell and Dahlstrom each have a couple of seasons in the Swedish Hockey League, and are in the process of transitioning to North American hockey after signing their pro contracts earlier this year.
Hildebrand, though on the smaller side for a goaltender, was a standout at Michigan State over four years, while Brent Moran has been a three-year starter in the Ontario Hockey League, so there's plenty of experience between the pipes for a young squad.
Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT. Check chicagoblackhawks.com for a live streaming link close to game time.