The Chicago Blackhawks are going to have to shake things up after a bad start of the season on the road. The home opener against the New York Islanders is on Tuesday, and it might be best to shake up the lineup before the game.
The Blackhawks used a number of different line combinations through the first few games.
Today rather than focus on what has been going wrong, let’s look at what the lineup should look like to start to fix the issues the Blackhawks have been having:
Dominik Kubalik – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane
This top line is what the Blackhawks need right now, separating DeBrincat and Kane is not a benefit, but Kane and Toews back together is the right move especially after the start of the season. Kane has been great so far with a goal and three assists, but I think it would really boost his five-on-five numbers to pair him back with Toews even if it is just for a game.
Alex DeBrincat – Kirby Dach – Henrik Borgstrom
Dach has been amazing, and giving him a chance to play with DeBrincat and Borgstrom would provide two talented wingers for the young center. Borgstrom has size and skill, DeBrincat has speed and a terrific shot. This line would be a heck of a lot of fun and provide something different against the Islanders.
Tyler Johnson – Dylan Strome – Brendan Hagel
Johnson has not been great to start the season. Pairing him on a wing with Strome and Hagel would give him an opportunity to focus on playing with some grit and physicality rather than the skill of DeBrincat and Kane. This would also give Johnson an opportunity to build some chemistry with Hagel which I think would be a given since Hagel played so well with Hinostroza last season.
Jujhar Khaira – Adam Gaudette- Mackenzie Entwistle
This fourth line can be physical and provide a spark for the team. Plus anyone of them can play center so that is just another bonus.
Scratched: Carpenter, Hardman, and Kurashev
I do not think Kurashev or Carpenter deserves to be scratched, rather I think it is time to give someone else a look for a game. Plus Kurashev has been playing on a line with Kubalik and Toews and yet still has the second-worst Corsi percentage on the team.
de Haan – Jones
McCabe – Murphy
Gustafsson – Stillman
de Haan has been one of the bright spots through three games. I think him with Jones might be the best move right now, especially considering McCabe has not been great. The second pairing gives Murphy and McCabe more time to work together as a unit which could be one of the top shut down pairings around, and the third pairing of Gustafsson and Stillman shouldn’t change as it actually has been pretty good through 20 plus minutes together.
In net, there is no doubt that Fleury is the starter. Even though he got pulled against the Penguins that was not entirely his fault as the team just started flat. Could Fleury be a little better? Yes, but that is true about the entire team. These losses cannot be blamed on just one player.
With Hardman being recalled, deciding who will be in the lineup is not going to be easy.