Chicago Blackhawks: Opening Night Forward Lines

By Skylar Peters
4 of 5

May 3, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center

Jonathan Toews

(19) is congratulated for scoring by right wing

Marian Hossa

(81) during the second period in game two of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

First Line

Kris Versteeg – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa

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The Blackhawks’ first line will be missing one third of its strength from last year with the absence of Brandon Saad, and it is largely unclear who his replacement will be. Versteeg has taken some reps with the ‘Hawks top line in the past, and with Quenneville pushing to pair Panarin with Kane, it seems plausible that he will start the season with the top unit. Hossa has shown no signs of age over the past several seasons, and if he keeps up this pace, playing on the Blackhawks’ top line will not be a problem for him. His skills with the puck are unmatched by anyone around the league, and he is a big body paired with an experienced mind.

Of course, Toews is the glue that holds the entire Blackhawks team together, and he’s fresh off what could be his best Stanley Cup run of three. Toews is regarded in some circles as the NHL’s second-best player to Sidney Crosby, and some even say that he is the best hockey player in the league right now. If he wants to convince more people, he may have to fight through some inconsistency on his left side, with the possibility of Quenneville trying several players at that position. However, he has been challenged many times in the past and never fails to disappoint.

Next: And The Leftovers

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