Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

By Tony Gianares
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with Brandon Saad #20 and Dylan Strome #17 after scoring a hat-trick against the Minnesota Wild in the third period at the United Center on December 27, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates with Brandon Saad #20 and Dylan Strome #17 after scoring a hat-trick against the Minnesota Wild in the third period at the United Center on December 27, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 31: Chicago Blackhawks Left Wing Brandon Saad (20) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on October 31, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Brandon Saad

Brandon Saad has started the 2019-20 season off strong and much better than he did last season. To start the 2018-19 season, Saad was playing on the 4th line and getting healthy scratched. That is not the case anymore, although Jeremy Colliton is still underutilizing Saad.

Saad has been playing third-line minutes, but he has been having a first-line impact. He has been noticeable all over the ice and on the penalty kill. In 4 games, Saad has racked up 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) with a -1 ± rating. He is currently on pace for 61 points which would be a new career-high.

Colliton should consider giving Saad top-6 minutes while he’s hot and find a spot for him on the power play. I’d like to see this top line: Brandon Saad-Jonathan ToewsDominik Kubalik.

The Blackhawks’ current 3rd line of Brandon SaadDavid KampfDominik Kubalik has arguably been the most effective thus far. Saad is doing some damage with Kampf as his center. Imagine what he and Kubalik could do with Toews as their center.


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 18: Dominik Kubalik #8 of the Chicago Blackhawks participates during warm-ups before a preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on September 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 18: Dominik Kubalik #8 of the Chicago Blackhawks participates during warm-ups before a preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on September 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Dominik Kubalik

Like his linemate, Saad, Dominik Kubalik has had a solid start to the 2019-20 season and his rookie campaign. While playing third-line minutes, he has had a first-line impact as well.

When you watch Kubalik play, you always see him getting involved in the play. You will get plenty of shots on goal (12), smart reads (1 assist), and timely hits (14) when Dominik Kubalik takes the ice. He is currently on pace for 41 points and a great rookie season.

If you didn’t know Kubalik was a rookie, you would think he has been in the league for a while. He plays a strong possession game as well and currently owns a 52.7 CF% and a 63.6 oZS%.

For those who aren’t into advanced statistics, this means the Chicago Blackhawks control the puck more with Kubalik on the ice and they spend more time on the attack in the offensive zone which is great.


BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 29: Dylan Strome of Chicago Blackhawks skates against Eisbaeren Berlin during the NHL Global Series Challenge 2019 match between Eisbaeren Berlin and Chicago Blackhawks at Mercedes-Benz Arena on September 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/NHLI via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 29: Dylan Strome of Chicago Blackhawks skates against Eisbaeren Berlin during the NHL Global Series Challenge 2019 match between Eisbaeren Berlin and Chicago Blackhawks at Mercedes-Benz Arena on September 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Dylan Strome

Dylan Strome has really solidified the 2nd line center position which is a great relief. The Chicago Blackhawks probably haven’t had a steady 2nd line center since Artem Anisimov during the Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane days.

Strome has gotten off to a solid start this season with 3 points (1G, 2A) and a 4 ± rating in 4 games. He is currently on pace for 61 points. The only area where Strome has struggled is with faceoffs (36.4%).

Strome is currently playing on an expiring contract so he holds his destiny in his hands. So far, it looks like he is heading straight to the bank and I can’t blame him. This will definitely be a storyline to watch as the season unfolds.

Alex DeBrincat recently received a 3 year, $19.2 mil contract extension, so I expect Strome to come in a little under that. Somewhere close to 3 years, $15 mil would be my guess.


CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 23: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues in the third period of Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 23: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues in the third period of Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw’s return to the Chicago Blackhawks has been a positive one for both players and fans. Shaw has given the locker room a huge morale boost and the team’s play on the ice has taken on his gritty, physical style of play.

He currently has 2 points (2G) with a 4 ± rating in 4 games and currently on pace for 41 points. Shaw also has 11 hits to go along with those 2 goals.

https://twitter.com/Certified_TonyG/status/1183928031271886848

Another bonus that Andrew Shaw brings to the table is his ability to rotate in on draws. This has proven beneficially with Dylan Strome’s struggles at the faceoff dot. Shaw currently owns a 46.2 FOW%.


Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 10: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates in the first period against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on October 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane has picked up where he left off last season and currently leads the Chicago Blackhawks in points (5). Kane has been an efficient scorer so far, as he scored twice on just 8 shots (25%). His playmaking has been as good as ever with 3 assists in 4 games.

The Blackhawks will be counting on Kane to have this type of production all season as they try to make their first playoff appearance since 2017. He is currently on pace for 102 points.

Kane has seen time on both the 1st line and 2nd line to start the 2019-20 season, and of course, extensive time on the power play (2:49). There’s not much else to say about Patrick Kane that hasn’t been said already. Elite players do elite things and Kane is on his way to having another great season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

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