The Blackhawks will be big up front as Quenneville works in some new skaters and gives Troy Brouwer, Dave Bolland and Tomas Kopecky added responsibilities.
Brouwer, a 6-foot-3 right wing, expects to help pick up some of the physical slack created by Byfuglien’s departure. Bolland emerged as an effective checking center after returning from back surgery, but Chicago would love to see him scoring goals and making assists this year.
Among the new forwards to watch is Viktor Stalberg, is a 6-foot-2 left wing who was acquired from Toronto in a trade that sent Kris Versteeg and his $3 million salary to the Maple Leafs.
Right wing Jack Skille, Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 2005, also stepped up in the preseason. Fernando Pisani, who at 33 is the oldest skater on the Blackhawks, signed as a free agent from Edmonton for just $500,000.
The Blackhawks still believe they can become the first team to win back-to-back championships since Detroit in 1997 and 1998.
“We knew there were going to be some moves,” Brouwer said. “We didn’t know maybe the extent of what it was going to be. We can’t worry about it any more. What we have to do now is defend the Stanley Cup.”