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.
The Blackhawks’ current 3rd line of Brandon Saad–David Kampf–Dominik 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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.