Chicago Blackhawks’ Ideal Lines, Pairings, Goalies In Toews/Kane Era

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Jonathan Toews
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Jonathan Toews /
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Players have come and gone from the Chicago Blackhawks in the last 10 years, but which ones would you most like to have on your team in the Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane era?

It’s near impossible to keep a core group together for a long time in today’s NHL. That the Chicago Blackhawks succeeded for roughly six years with the group of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson was a huge reason for the team’s three Stanley Cup victories in that span.

And that core eventually evolved as time went on. Guys like Corey Crawford and Marcus Kruger became key pieces as well. Of course, time, injuries, age and the salary cap cause players to come and go — sometimes more quickly than we’d like.

I went back and looked at each Blackhawks roster since Toews and Kane broke into the league — the 2007-08 season. Familiar names fill the ledgers, along with some guys who have been forgotten about, or who were with the team only a short while.

Today, I’m going to take a look at the roster I’d pick for the Blackhawks in the Toews/Kane era. Now, this isn’t going to be made based entirely on how guys performed with the Blackhawks. That would force out some really good players who struggled in Chicago, whether it be because they weren’t used properly or they were on the back end of their career.

Before we jump into the lines, pairings and goaltenders I’ve selected, some quick honorable mentions in each category.

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Honorable mentions

Forwards — Bryan Bickell, Troy Brouwer, Phillip Danault, Michael Frolik, Martin Lapointe, Tuomo Ruutu, Kris Versteeg

Defensemen — Dustin Byfuglien, Trevor Daley, Christian Ehrhoff, Brent Sopel

Goaltenders — Scott Darling, Antti Niemi, Antti Raanta

Lapointe and Ruutu were part of some bad Blackhawks teams before former owner Bill Wirtz died. They weren’t goal-scoring machines by any means, but both could’ve been serviceable bottom-six guys on this list.

Some fans long for the days of Byfuglien standing in front of the net, but you have to remember one thing: He wouldn’t be doing that as a defenseman. That’s his position, so that’s how I have to judge his inclusion on this list. And he didn’t make the cut as a blueliner (though I don’t know he would have as a forward, either).

Darling had a great run in Chicago, too, but his body of work doesn’t live up to that of the two netminders I selected. And this fantasy team isn’t carrying three goalies.

So, let’s get to the ultimate Toews/Kane era Blackhawks lineup as chosen by yours truly.