When Marian Hossa got injured, Coach Joel Quenneville was forced to change his lines. Quenneville decided to pair Andrew Shaw and Brandon Sadd with Jonathan Toews on the Top line. Thus far this move has paid off for the Blackhawks, Sadd SEEMS to be giving Shaw and Toews great scoring chances on every shift. That is why when Hossa returns, Saad should remain on the top line.
Here are three reasons why Saad should remain on the top line:
• Saad’s speed: There is nothing against Hossa’s speed, he just have the burst that Hossa does not have anymore.
• Saad and Hossa have similar production: Hossa for this season while mainly playing on the top line has 24 goals and 26 assists. He is .088 points per game. Now to Hossa’s credit, he is a better two way player than Brandon Saad. Saad while playing mainly outside of the top 6 forwards has amassed 18 goals and 25 assists. Saad’s points per game is less than Hossa’s .066, but like stated earlier Saad has not played with the top line all season. However Saad has improved his defensive game immensely this season.
• Saad on the top line saves Hossa for the plays: The Blackhawks are in a dog fight for seeding in the Western Conference. They currently trail the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks. Going into Wednesday’s game Colorado and San Jose were trailing the Blackhawks by 1 point. Hossa should get less ice time coming off an injury. If Saad remains on the top line, Hossa’s minutes per game should decrease as well. By decreasing Hossa’s time during the season, he hopefully will be fresher for the playoffs. People seem to forget Hossa’s is 35 years old, who took part in the shortest offseason in NHL history, played a full schedule before the Olympics, and then suffered an upper body injury right after the Olympic break.
Those are my reasons why Saad should stay on the top line. This was not a shot at Hossa. Hossa is a great player and a vital piece to the Blackhawks team. We need him in the top six forwards. Ultimately the choice is out my hands, it will be in the very CAPABLE hands of Joel Quenneville.
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