Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: History Says Depth Players Will Be Key

By Connor Broshar
SOUTH BEND, IN - JANUARY 01: Brendan Perlini #11 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period of the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game against the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium on January 1, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - JANUARY 01: Brendan Perlini #11 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates his goal with teammates during the first period of the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game against the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium on January 1, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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This season is no different than others. Depth players will need to prove their worth to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Living on the edge is something that isn’t new in the NHL. Those who aren’t stars in the league have to continue to prove themselves on every shift. The Chicago Blackhawks have had their fair share of those players, over the last ten years, who are fighting for a spot on the 4th line or 3rd defensive pairing.

After the Opening Night roster had been announced, players like Slater Koekkoek, Brendan Perlini, and Kirby Dach all managed to crack the opening night roster. Koekkoek and Perlini both had experience with the Hawks last season and both had their highs and lows, but still managed to beat out the likes of Anton Wedin and Dennis Gilbert.

It should be expected that guys like Wedin, Gilbert, Dylan Sikura and top prospects Adam Boqvist, and Aleksi Saarela will get a chance at some point this season. However, for now, Perlini and Koekkoek have secured their spots.

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These players who live on the edge are vital to the outcomes of the season during an 82 game stretch. The Blackhawks know how important depth scoring is for success.

During the recent Stanley Cup years, the likes of Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Kris Versteeg, Dave Bolland, and Andrew Desjardins all provided huge lifts when the ‘Hawks needed an answer.

Defensemen like Brent Sopel, Michal Rozsival, and Johnny Oduya all provided key minutes and blocks when needed.  Without these depth players, the Blackhawks don’t win their Stanley Cups.

Fast-forwarding to today, Perlini and Koekkoek need to be those guys, if the ‘Hawks want any chance of doing damage in the playoffs.

As we look ahead to 2019-20 Opening Night, all eyes will be on the depth pieces for the Chicago Blackhawks. The question is: can they provide a spark, eat up some minutes, and take the pressure off some of the stars?

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