Editorials

The Chicago Blackhawks depth at the center position

By Jimmy Lynch
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 03: Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks turns to celebrate a second period goal with Patrick Kane #88 against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on March 03, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 03: Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks turns to celebrate a second period goal with Patrick Kane #88 against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on March 03, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks need to win faceoffs to drive puck possession.

Winning faceoffs has never been more important for the Chicago Blackhawks. During a year where the team will be shorthanded and missing out on some critical pieces of the organization, collecting the puck in the faceoff dot is critical.

Chicago will be without Jonathan Toews for the time being. Toews was a force for the Blackhawks in the faceoff dot last season, winning 856 faceoffs and losing 638. That came out to a 57.3 faceoff percentage, well above the team’s total at 49.9 percent.

Now, if 856 faceoffs seems like a lot, that is because it is. Toews won 43.5 of the Blackhawks’ faceoff wins this past season. The rest of the lineup combined for 1108 faceoff wins. Missing Toews this season is going to hurt the team one way or another.

An NHL team can never have too many centers. Players get hurt, and all of a sudden, a third-line center turns into the top line centermen without a contract… cough cough Strome a few weeks ago.

While the ‘Hawks centermen depth has been depleted thanks to some critical injuries within the organization, they still have some centers that can be difference makers on this roster.

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The centermen depth: 

Dylan Strome

Carl Soderberg 

Lucas Wallmark 

David Kampf

Mattias Janmark*

Pius Suter* 

Andrew Shaw

Cameron Morrison 

Evan Barratt 

Injured: Kirby Dach, Jonathan Toews 

The players in bold on this is who we expect to see on the NHL roster this coming season. Obviously, there will be some rotation within the lineup throughout the season, but With the seven players in bold, Chicago does have a decent group of forwards that can win some faceoffs for this team in 2021.

Personally, I like the idea of putting Suter or Shaw as the second-line center. I think that will bring the most skill to the top six as Soderberg is an older player who can primarily be a great penalty killer and bottom-six forward for this team.

A two years after drafting Kirby Dach, who would have thought that the Blackhawks centermen group now would include players like Carl Soderberg as the presumed number two center?

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