The justification for splitting up Kane and Toews makes sense. When they’re apart the Blackhawks have an undeniably more balanced lineup. In this line, John Hayden slides into the role previously played by Drake Caggiula, providing a big net-front presence.
Brandon Saad‘s promotion is justifiable, however I think his chances to play first line minutes are running out. The Chicago Blackhawks have tried him here multiple times without success. After all, there’s a reason he was moved off of it.
That said, Saad is playing a stronger, two-way game now while Toews is also playing better hockey than he was at the start of the season.
Obviously we’d all love to see Saad and Toews work together as line-mates like the ‘Hawks hoped they would upon reacquiring Saad, but recent history isn’t on their side.
This line is the same as it was against the San Jose Sharks in the Blackhawks last outing.
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Meanwhile, Brendan Perlini has struggled since being packaged with Strome earlier this season. He has just 12 points in 53 games this season. Perlini, an RFA after this season, will be playing meaningful hockey down the stretch of this season if he wants the Blackhawks to resign him.
Personally, I feel he’s too young for the Blackhawks not to resign him, but that’s another conversation.
If Colliton could get him going offensively playing alongside Strome and DeBrincat he’d look like a genius. Perlini scored two goals against the LA Kings four days ago, so perhaps he can use that momentum to produce in this role.