What lines will the Chicago Blackhawks roll out in 2016-17?
So far, the Chicago Blackhawks and their front office have certainly made some noise this offseason. Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen are just players of the past, and now the ‘Hawks have some legitimate prospects to look forward to down the line.
But what about this year? It is the season of projections and predictions, so here are my projections and thoughts on what the line combinations should be come October.
First Line: Richard Panik–Jonathan Toews–Marian Hossa
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The top line for the ‘Hawks come October will probably look like this. Toews is of course the starting center for this team, but his supporting cast maybe a bit in question.
On one end should be Panik. The 25-year-old played fantastically during the postseason this year on the top line, and I see no reason why he should be moved anywhere else. He fits in perfectly with Toews and could become a key piece in the Blackhawks’ success this season if he continues to become the player he should be. He is a big body who could easily get in front of the net and clear up some space for Toews.
On the other end of Toews will mostly likely be Hossa. I personally do not want to see Hossa on that line though. I think Hossa needs to take a smaller role on the team and be the main guy on the third line. The only problem is the ‘Hawks lack a talented winger to fit in on the top line.
One player who could take the top line spot is Vincent Hinostroza. The only problem is he’s extremely young and may not be able to translate to the top line immediately. So come opening night, expect Hossa on the top line. However, later in the year, it would be great to see Hossa dropped to the third line with Marcus Kruger.
Second Line: Artemi Panarin–Artem Anisimov–Patrick Kane
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Any line that has the league’s MVP and Rookie of the Year should not be touched at all. Joel Quenneville will go back to the well with this line, and hopefully it works as well as it did last season. This line should only be touched if Q hits the nuclear launch button and puts Kane on the top line.
Next: Third And Fourth Lines