Blackhawks: Forward depth will be key for Chicago in the playoffs
When the league resumes play, the Chicago Blackhawks will take on the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.
However, the Chicago Blackhawks will need to be able to rely on their forward depth in order to defeat Edmonton.
The defense has been a bit problematic for Chicago, but the team appears to have a better than average pool of forwards to lean on.
There’s no doubt that the Oilers are planning on containing Toews and Kane, just like the Blackhawks are preparing for McDavid and Draisaitl.
The difference is, the Blackhawks have players that can step up and make a difference.
Brandon Saad, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, and Dominik Kubalik can all produce points apart from Toews and Kane.
In particular, the Blackhawks will likely need to rely on Saad to help carry the team. Fortunately, he can do it.
For the year, Saad has 21 goals and 12 assists for 33 points. That’s not bad for just 58 games before the season shut down. Additionally, Saad can spend time playing defense, killing penalties, and helping spur the team with strong steady play.
What may help the Blackhawks the most is that Saad can play up and down the lineup. It wouldn’t be shocking at all if the Blackhawks had him on the 3rd line so that the team can spread it’s depth effectively.
Saad can play alongside Toews on the first line with Kubalik for a power trio, or he can play on other lines to spread the team’s star power.
There’s no way the Oilers can take their eyes off Kane, nor can they afford to give Kubalik and Toews space.
Ultimately, Saad will possibly Chicago’s biggest difference-maker. No matter where he plays in the lineup he’ll make the team better. He also has the experience of what it takes to win the cup, and the skill to help the team do it.