Chicago Blackhawks’ 5 Reasons They Can Make The 2017-18 Playoffs

By Colin Likas
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 23: Corey Crawford
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 23: Corey Crawford /
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chicago blackhawks
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 21: Luc Snuggerud /

Reinforcements coming?

So we’ve talked about the first line and what’s listed as the fourth line. How about those other two groups?

Well, Saad is playing with Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane, which on paper sounds fantastic. Hartman, Artem Anisimov and Tommy Wingels are another line, which definitely seems to be a checking unit in nature.

The thing is, I think there’s room for improvement here. I’m just not sure exactly what that means yet. But Saad has been stuck in the mud for a while now, and the Blackhawks really need to get him going.

While some will just continue to wonder what could have been with Artemi Panarin, the reality is the Blackhawks actually have Saad in the present. And they need him producing at a much better clip than he has been. Maybe it just takes one game to spark things … or maybe more line changes are coming?

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This leads into the idea of reinforcements. I know some believe a checking line is critical to a team’s success, but I’d counter with the argument that an inconsistent Blackhawks offense could use more point producers. Could we see a Matthew Highmore call-up? Alexandre Fortin? The return of John Hayden? The addition of Dylan Sikura after his time at Northeastern ends?

Who knows? But the point is all of these things could happen and, to varying degrees, likely would boost the team. Hartman has been sleeping through the season, Anisimov is a shell of himself when not center Kane, and Wingels offers nothing that can’t be replaced.

So in my mind, the Blackhawks can still get better at forward, which would only help with a postseason push.

And the same goes for defense as well. Gustav Forsling will be back and provides some offense (though his defense does scare). Carl Dahlstrom and Luc Snuggerud are also options.

There are just ways this team can become what it’s trending toward: faster and younger. It’s paid dividends so far, and the fact there are more options available makes talking about the postseason a little more feasible.