Ahead of tonight's matchup with the Florida Panthers, Blackhawks' coach Jeremy Colliton announced a couple of lineup changes. The team will start their third different goalie this season as Kevin Lankinen is set to make his Blackhawks debut after a promotion from the taxi squad. Additionally, forward Brandon Hagel will make his season debut as he draws into the lineup for Matthew Highmore.
After poor performances from both Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia in the early going, Lankinen getting a crack at the net comes as no surprise. An undrafted player out of Finland, Lankinen showed up on the Blackhawks’ radar after an impressive five-year tenure in the Liiga (Finnish Elite League). In his final season with the HIFK, he posted an insane stat line of 10-2-3, 0.940 SV%, and 1.33 GAA. He also played for the AHL Rockford IceHogs, where he posted a stat line of 15-18-6, .909 SV% and 2.77 GAA.
As for Brandon Hagel, the 22-year-old forward made his Blackhawks debut last March in what would be the final regular-season game before the NHL suspended its schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hagel posted 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) with the IceHogs in 2019-20. He replaces Matthew Highmore, who saw under ten minutes of ice time in Sunday night's loss.