After Coach Quenneville suggested Brandon Saad could have dibs on the 2nd line center, it threw out all the best plans for Brandon Pirri starting out the season as 2nd line center when the season kicks off on October 1st. Let’s take a quick look at the possible #2 centers now that Q has put a wrench into the plans.
1. Michal Handzus- Handzus was the #2 center during the playoffs, but it seems unlikely that he could hold that spot down for an entire 82 game season. Handzus signing seems like a security blanket for the playoffs.
2. Marcus Kruger- Kruger was the #2 center at times during his rookie season of 2011-2012. He would be adequate but not really spectacular in between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. It seems unlikely that Kruger ends up at #2 but he wouldn’t be terrible either.
3. Brandon Saad- Coach Q threw a real curveball at the Hawks convention suggesting Saad. Saad is a Calder Trophy finalist at wing not center so switching him in his second season seems like a motivating statement.
4. Brandon Pirri- Pirri is the reining leading scorer of the AHL and seemed to be the anointed #2 center heading into training camp. The Q statement could have been just a warning shot to Pirri to work hard all summer long to take over the coveted #2 center position.
5. Drew LeBlanc- LeBlanc may be the farthest away but Bowman said he was close to arriving in Chicago. LeBlanc could surprise at training camp and be the real story in September.
What do you think? Who centers the #2 line for the Hawks in October?
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