Apparently, the Blackhawks are trying to pick it up on even-strength play and the line shuffling COULD prove to be beneficial.
The Blackhawks have not done very well on 5 on 5 play with only 24 goals in 19 games. On top of that, the Blackhawks’ loaded top line of Alex Debrincat, Patrick Kane, and Kirby Dach have not played up to expectation, looking to be defending more often than not. This is attributed to the lack of faceoff success by Dach and the current snake-bitten state of Kane. Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome can’t seem to be able to buy a goal either, despite creating multiple chances to do so.
As we look at the current line combinations via NBCSports Chicago‘s Charlie Roumeliotis, I will give my reasonings behind what I would tweak on the forward lines and why. I will start with the bottom six, and finish with the top line.
Line 4: Jujhar Khaira – Ryan Carpenter – Reese Johnson
This has been the Blackhawks’ energy line as of late, and they should play with the style of “Crash the Net”. What this means is that whenever they have the puck, they throw it on net at every chance. Get in the face of the goaltender and cause fits for him as a minimum of two bodies would be in front of the net for a tip play, and the other waiting to slap in a rebounded shot. I think this would help this line greatly as this is how depth forwards need to play, especially the fourth line.
Line 3: Adam Gaudette – Kirby Dach – Brandon Hagel
This line would be able to either hit the opposition, or create plays with the underrated offense creativity of Adam Gaudette. Kirby Dach would be able to work on his faceoffs against lesser opposition being apart from Kane and Debrincat, and Hagel would be that high-motor guy you need on the line. I feel like this line would have a great, responsible heavy forecheck who could take away the puck by winning puck battles, and pass to the open man for a tap in goal. They are also good enough to run a cycle play, as all three are more than capable of controlling the puck in the zone. Yes, Hagel deserves to be in the top-six, but I have something else thought up for the team. This is the first of three scoring lines for the Blackhawks.
Let’s now look at the top-six, and why I feel these lines and strategies would work