The Chicago Blackhawks officially have signed Henrik Borgstrom for two years.
Henrik Borgstrom was said to emulate Austin Matthews in college: a big, skilled forward who has the ability to take over a game. I even heard Mario Lemieux’s name as a comparison, but this is a HUGE reach, Mario was a once-in-a-lifetime player.
With that said, Borgstrom is a big body at 6’3, 200lbs (rounded, via NHL.com), possesses an elite shot, great handles, and great playmaking. At least, that’s what I saw of him when he played in college. He also scored 9 goals, 10 assists in 58 games with a 14.3% shooting percentage. Alex Debrincat, the sniper of the Blackhawks, has a 15.6% shooting percentage, so, if the stats don’t lie, the Blackhawks could have three snipers with Dominik Kubalik for next season.
The top-six is loaded and could be even more so if Lukas Reichel is signed soon and Jonathan Toews returns. As Alex Nylander is a question mark, I won’t be adding him, and Toews is unclear to return, so I’ll have to leave him out as well.
To start, I personally see Borgstrom playing wing, not at center where he is currently listed. Center means he will have a ton of defensive responsibility, and I don’t see Borgstrom succeeding there. As a left handed-shot, Borgstrom could slot in as a second line right wing. The right side allows a sniper with the best angle for a SOG and a possible goal, and could play with the likes of Kirby Dach and Alex Debrincat. Borgstrom’s shot is something to take note of, but he is also a playmaker with 10 assists.
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This line is full of skill and size, minus Debrincat, but he doesn’t play like a small player: He’s always getting in the play with a hit and even fights guys much bigger than he is on occasion. You can’t pinpoint a puck carrier on this line either as you would on Patrick Kane’s line: All three guys can carry the puck into the zone, and every guy can finish the play as well. They also have the potential to play physically, but Kirby Dach has to rest and heal his wrist injury before any of this happens.
As for when Borgstrom could play for the Blackhawks, I think he could debut at the season opener. He’s too skilled of a forward to be overlooked by the coaching staff, and he already has 58 NHL games under his belt. If this isn’t the case, I would assume he would have a “half-and-half” season, where he spends half of it in Rockford, and half with the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks believe Borgstrom could be a highly effective player for them as he has size and offensive ability, and Bowman has said that “he is the best college player he has ever seen”. Borgstrom is a prospect with a ton of potential with the ability to take over a game with his size and skill. Fans have every right to be excited about him.
To conclude, I think Henrik Borgstrom would debut as a second-line right winger as his offensive ability is too much to look over. He also didn’t like his role and development in Florida as a top-nine forward, and doing the same on a middle-tier team at best with the Blackhawks cannot be what he agreed upon. He could make his debut next season, but when depends on his training camp. When camp starts, fans will have a better idea of where he stands.