Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Bottom Six Still Has To Take Shape

By Gail Kauchak
Feb 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (center) celebrates scoring a goal with right wing Patrick Kane (left) and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (right) ) during the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Chicago won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (center) celebrates scoring a goal with right wing Patrick Kane (left) and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (right) ) during the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Chicago won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Vinnie Hinostroza (48) with the puck during the second period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 8, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Vinnie Hinostroza (48) with the puck during the second period against the Nashville Predators at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Beyond the current fold

There are other options as well. Vinnie Hinostroza has been playing well since being sent down to the Rockford IceHogs in late February.

In 48 games played with the Chicago Blackhawks this season, he has six goals and eight assists. Many think his stint in the AHL should be over, as his added time in Rockford and his speed could be attributes to the ’Hawks going forward.

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And then there’s newly acquired John Hayden, who was just signed to a two-year entry-level deal on Sunday. Coach Q indicated after the game that Hayden would join the team for its upcoming road trip, and he would get a chance to play. It is believed that his size and scoring ability could be helpful to the team.

Nothing like having options, eh? It’s a good problem to have. I’d like to see the bottom six shape out like this:

Hartman-Kero-Hossa

Rasmussen-Kruger-Hinostroza

Kero is more of an offensive threat than Kruger, so he should stay on the third line. Hartman has 15 goals and 11 assists this season. As a rookie! Let these two gel with Hossa, and we could see a dominant third line that can score as well as defend.

Kruger and Rasmussen are made from the same mold in that they can make an excellent shutdown pairing. Add Hinostroza to the mix with his speed and perhaps for a scoring threat on that fourth line.

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t have a problem with Jurco or Hayden changing my mind over the next few weeks. A little healthy competition makes everyone better.

Next: 5 Observations From Win Over Wild

If this Chicago Blackhawks team is going to go far in the playoffs, they have to have depth. Besides their top six, they will need a third and fourth line that can play crucial minutes, and that Coach Q can rely on. This is what is being worked out in the final weeks of the regular season. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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