The future line-up for the Chicago Blackhawks should look similar to the following (not in positional order):
1st Line: Kubalik – Toews – Suter(?)/Shaw
The first line is a serious offensive threat, with Jonathan Toews still a superstar center, and a blossoming sniper in Dominik Kubalik. Pius Suter is a question mark, but if he is as good as the (at least) nine teams fighting for his services think, Suter could be another European steal for the Blackhawks. If Suter doesn’t make the team, he will most likely go back to Europe.
If Andrew Shaw is healthy, I can see him on this line to cause havoc in front of the net and dish out crushing hits. The strategy I find them doing is a carry-in and possess the puck in the zone and shooting the puck after three passes. If the opponents run a 1-4 defense, stacking at center ice, a chip and chase with Shaw would work as well.
2nd Line: Debrincat – Dach – Kane
I find this line to be the potential first line. With a natural-born sniper in Alex Debrincat, a bonafide Hall of Famer in Patrick Kane, and a new-and-improved Kirby Dach, this line will be scary to play against.
Kane can pass the puck better than anyone in the league (in my biased opinion), Debrincat can shoot the puck from anywhere and bury it, and Dach is just a threat everywhere and when he gets confident with his shot… Watch out. This line will also carry and possess, aiming for a SOG after three passes. Any more than three passes is an accident waiting to happen with this team.
3rd Line: Janmark – Carpenter – Highmore
This line is a defender’s nightmare. With a dump and chase entry, followed by an aggressive, intelligent 2-1-2 forecheck, the defense will not have a good time trying to start a breakout play from their own zone. The 2-1-2 forecheck works as two forwards will cause havoc in the zone while one forward covers center ice, with two defenders at the blue line.
You cover any forward trying to get past the D as both are at the blue line, covering any potential breakaways, while the forward at center ice checks the puck carrier on an entry play. They also can provide depth offense with the addition of Janmark, and Carpenter and Highmore both provided some offense in the postseason.
4th Line: Wallmark – Kampf – Barratt/Hagel/Shaw
The 4th line will be about the same in strategy and impact defensively as the third line. The other team should know that these three will do their best to make life miserable with an aggressive forecheck and finished checks if their strategy is drawn upright.
Extras: Nylander (please no), Hagel/Barratt, Entwistle