Brandon Hagel has been a surprisingly effective player for the Blackhawks, generating chances for with grit and with skill.
Brandon Hagel has been a very good depth forward for the Chicago Blackhawks, earning a primary assist on Dominik Kubalik’s first goal of the night vs Detroit. In that game, he could have gotten his first goal a couple times, but fell short or drew a penalty in the process.
Hagel is a very good skater, as mentioned by a few of his teammates. He can create chances for offensively, hold his own on defense, and displays a high compete level, highlighted by the past game vs Detroit to out-muscle a bigger guy on his chip and chase to set up Kubalik’s goal. He is in his first full season and any player can put this type of effort forward with the same results for a few games, but he has held this style of play every game he is in.
He is also deceptively skillful, showing good hands when he holds the puck with poise, not anxious to get rid of it. He also contributes offense to the team as well as playing his other role as an energy guy. His shot is underrated as well, as he earned a shooting percentage of 15% IceHogs last season.
I personally want to see him on a line with Reese Johnson and Mackenzie Entwhistle, two other guys who won’t pass up a hit. When Entwhistle and Johnson go in on the aggressive forecheck, Hagel would be the third forward back to help on defense.
This group could force giveaways from the opposition and capitalize on them, possibly handing Hagel his first NHL goal. Who would be scratched in favor of Entwhistle, I have no idea, but I would like the fourth line to be fast and much more physical than it has been as of late.
Brandon Hagel has been an impact player as of late due to his tenacious work ethic, underrated offense, and recently noticed speed. As the season went on, he has gotten better in both ends, able to crush players with huge hits, or create chances for his line. He has been close to his first goal multiple times, and that first goal doesn’t look to be that far away.