Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: Circus Trip Goodbyes And Newcomers

By Colin Likas
Feb 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks fans react to a goal by Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (not pictured) in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks fans react to a goal by Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (not pictured) in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks fans celebrate during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Greg Bradshaw

Question 1: For a tradition that predates the United Center, this is a good thing the annual Circus Trip is coming to an end. Not only are the Chicago Blackhawks and Bulls having to endure being on the road for long periods of time, but from a business standpoint, fewer home games is no bueno for fans and owners.

Question 2: Although there is a lot of potential in all current newcomers, I’m going to say Ryan Hartman. The Blackhawks lack physicality, and it’s been this way for a long time. In Hartman, the Blackhawks have a physical skater who can also chip in some scoring, as we have seen lately.

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George Clifford

Question 1: I’m sorry to see the end of the Circus Trip. In addition to generating a lot of “buzz” among the fan base, the trip takes a good early measure of the team’s mettle and how it responds to adversity in a hostile environment. Timeworn but still true, 12 days on the road forges invaluable camaraderie that can pay dividends down the road.

It’s worth noting that approximately 78 percent of the teams holding a playoff position at the quarter post go on to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Returning to Chicago still atop the Western Conference, the Blackhawks can really pile up the points playing 10 of their next 16 games at the United Center. Keep the Trip!

Question 2: Gustav Forsling. Starting with his first appearance at the summer Prospects Tournament, 20-year-old defenseman Forsling has really impressed with his skating, stickhandling, vision and positioning.

At 6 feet,186 pounds, Forsling cannot overpower opposing players, but still wins a lot of board battles with his skillful play. He’s got a great shot and isn’t afraid to use it — among Blackhawks defensemen, his 25 shots on goal ranks third behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman likes to say “you can never have too many defensemen.” With only 20 NHL games under his belt, Forsling still has plenty of room for improvement, but has shown all the skill and smarts to become a top-four defenseman.

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