The Chicago Blackhawks preseason has been filled with a lot of fun things to watch. From Marc-Andre Fleury playing a game in a Hawks uniform to seeing Seth Jones on the blue line. One area I think the team has done a great job with has been the center depth.
The Blackhawks traded for Tyler Johnson this offseason and a lot of people, myself included, assumed he would be the guy on the third line. This season to start training camp though Jeremy Colliton showed that probably was not the case as he started Johnson with Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane.
The decision has created a really offensive top line to watch with those three stars, and while they might be undersized compared to other lines in the league, I hope they can stick together for the majority of the season.
With Johnson being on the top line that leaves guys like Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach available to play on the second and third line. Obviously, throughout the past ten years, the Kane and Toews lines could be interchanged as the first and second lines and this year is no different.
Toews with Kubalik and potentially a guy like Brandon Hagel plays an all-around game that the Johnson line doesn’t have. There are some reasonable doubts as to why the Hawks shouldn’t use Johnson with Kane and DeBrincat, but today I want to highlight three reasons why that is the best move for the team.
1. The Depth Is On Full Display
The Chicago Blackhawks are going to have three really good lines. One with Johnson Kane and DeBrincat that can score a lot of goals, one with Toews that can win a lot of faceoffs and provide offense as well, and then the Dach line which will be the wildcard line in my opinion.
Having a top nine that has Toews Johnson and Dach down the middle is a step up from last season, and is a great improvement on the Hawks centermen depth from the past handful of seasons.
Toews has been winning a heck of a lot of faceoffs throughout training camp and the preseason, and Johnson is also a very capable guy in the dot. Dach on the other hand definitely still needs to develop and improve but the great thing is he can do that in a sheltered third-line role. This brings me to the second reason I like this center situation.