Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: An In-Depth Look at New Lineup Down the Stretch

By Samuel Boland
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton looks on in game action during the first period of a NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders on January 22, 2019 at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton looks on in game action during the first period of a NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders on January 22, 2019 at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 14: Jonathan Toews #19 and Brandon Saad #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate Saads’ short-handed goal in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at the United Center on February 14, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the devils 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

1. Saad-Toews-Hayden

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.

2. DeBrincat-Strome-Perlini

This line is the same as it was against the San Jose Sharks in the Blackhawks last outing.

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In that game, Alex DeBrincat tallied an assist while Dylan Strome scored his 17th goal of the season. The two of them have been outstanding together offensively since Strome was traded to Chicago.

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.

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