Blackhawks Top Line Red Hot

There was a time earlier this season when a popular criticism of the Chicago Blackhawks was that the offense was only one line deep.

And, for a time, that was true. With Patrick Kane having a historic season skating with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, the Hawks were able to get away with some other veterans struggling to get it done and still hang around the leaders in the Central Division.

But since the calendar has flipped to 2016, the Hawks’ top line has been on fire. With Andrew Shaw joining Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, all three have found their offense and have made an impact on the scoreboard almost every night.

Look at the numbers for the Blackhawks top line to start the new year:

Jonathan Toews

  • Jonathan Toews
    9 games
    6 goals
    6 assists
    12 points
    1 game-winning goal
    Had 24 points in 39 games entering January.

Marian Hossa TOR

  • Marian Hossa
    9 games
    3 goals
    4 assists
    7 points
    3 multi-point games
    Had 17 points in 34 games entering January.

Andrew Shaw BUF

  • Andrew Shaw
    9 games
    2 goals
    5 assists
    7 points
    Had 15 points in 39 games entering January.

16 thoughts on “Blackhawks Top Line Red Hot

  1. Brian Hedger @BrianHedger
    Panarin, Gustafsson, Rasmussen and Van Riemsdyk … all regulars, all found by #Blackhawks hockey ops, all signed by Stan Bowman.
    12h ago

  2. Shawzie making a strong case to be “the guy” to finally answer the bell at 1LW. If nothing else, Shaw is at least “serviceable” in that role if the Hawks don’t acquire a top-6 LW, and if the Hawks do acquire a top-6 LW Shaw can be moved down to strengthen the bottom-6. All is good.

    Speaking of rookies – 5 playing regular shifts – Panarin, Danault, Rasmussen, Gustafsson, and TvR, with a 6th guy barely over the “rookie” threshold (Teravainen). That is pretty incredible when you consider the Hawks are on top of the Western Conference instead of struggling to replace key players with question marks. I’m not sure if that speaks to the organization’s ability to find good players in free agency or that the core group is so good they lift new players to the height of their abilities. Probably some of both.

    Enjoying the golden age.

  3. Yes Hot . . . seems team now have to put their top lines vs. our second line also!
    Hawks do a great job of mixed matched “match ups” even floating KANE all all lines at times. Our Top line is soooo good defensively that as far as goals scored it’s not that critical to me, i want them goals in the playoffs, Toews can score at will, but when all 4 lines are playing good solid by the book a lot of players look good!

    Plus that top line is learning to PLAY around and with SHAWZY, in the past they would insert player X and palyer X had to adjust his game to two hall of famers? So my insight is simply . . . Shaw has the simple north to south game down, good skates, speed and stick, hits the corners hard and NOW and Toews and Hossa are adjusting to his game. That is hockey but i love the defense, it’s behind 11 and 12 coming up!

    Thanks Tab

    Go Hawks

  4. Time to give Shaw credit for making the most of his opportunity, I was against the move and think Shaw is a bottom 6 guy, but if he keeps making plays just leave him up there.

  5. I’m not sure SB needs to do any trading this season. Last year we kind-of lucked out on the timing of Kane’s injury that allowed us to essentially go over the cap for the playoff run. These guys are so good I’m starting to wonder how it compares to the last three cup winning Hawks lineups. What does everyone think?

  6. Bilbo161, “not sure SB needs to do any trading this season” — that is what I’ve suggested on a couple of other threads. There seems to be some compulsion or RULE that additions players – mostly OVERpriced “rentals” – MUST be acquired to make any *serious* Cup run. Obviously, a LOT can happen between now and the post season, but as long as the Hawks keep “playing the right way” they should win more often than not. With Gustafsson playing in the top four, enabling van Riemsdyk to pair with rotating Rozsival and Scuderi, the defensemen (at least at the moment) are strong. If Kruger returns at (or very near) 100%, the “4th line” is upgraded. This group might be good enough to win again. Trading 1st and 2nd round picks last season might be incentive for the Hawks to use their picks at the draft…and, they probably do not have enough cap $$ to bring-in anybody who would be a significant upgrade anyway. Last year, movimg at least one “core player” was inevitable making it feasible to overpay for Vermette (another Cup, so “just the cost of doing business”) – this season the Hawks are not in the same situation (Bowman may have a little easier time juggling?).

  7. Lets not forget Marko Dano who’s patiently learning the Hawks system, when he finally “gets it” & gets called up…

    Hoo boy, exciting times for us Hawk fans!

  8. Even though our roster is one of the top rosters and we have a good chance to win every year (with our core, when we have good role players) I think its always wise to add more defenseman depth and/or good FW. I do not want to waste picks/top prospects but as long as we add college/Europe fa like 57/52/72 (as rare a find and how good 72 is) those players are like developing a 1st, 2nd or 5th etc.

  9. Wall, man were right about Panarin last spring when you posted details about him when I asked. You thought he was closer to Kaner then Teravainen (and I know you like 86 as much as I do). Bread Man might be the top fa signing in a long time.

  10. JoeyZ – yes, absolutely!! I failed to mention Dano — if/when he’s ready, that call-up could be an upgrade (already paid for…).

    Morrison, “always wise to add more defenseman depth and/or good FW” – well, I am not foolish enough to argue against that – YES!! But, I’m (have been, except for last season’s circumstances) against overpaying for rentals. (More often than not, by FAR it does NOT guarantee success.) Also, I believe it would be wise to carefully consider if any “outsider” is actually an upgrade over what’s available internally. Is adding some “journeyman” really better than calling up Svedberg, for example? And, at what cost (- the market for rentals has morphed to “insane” the last couple of years Ask the Rangers if they wouldn’t undo the Yandle deal if they could…)?

    “add college/Europe fa like 57/52/72 (as rare a find and how good 72 is)” – absolutely!! But, none of those players were “deadline” (or earlier) additions – it was good scouting. Byfuglien’s name has been tossed around here – and a couple of opinions seem to suggest it would be a good move to trade a LARGE part of the future (Teravainen?…Hartman?…1st?…and 2nd rounds picks…?) to **rent** him – I really don’t understand that! Seriously, I would take my chances with the current roster rather than trade ANY of that (OK, **maybe** a 2nd round pick, if it worked with the cap).

  11. My first impulse is to leave no cap space unused in the quest to repeat. However, Panarin is almost certain to earn some of the bonuses and it would be nice to pay those from the 2015/16 cap rather than the 2016/17 cap.

    But that ultimately comes down to being able to make the right decision on whether or not the Hawks will be good enough to win without acquiring another player.

    Ideally a player would be acquired for little of no impact on the available cap space, such as a player on an ELC (like Drouin) or salary would go the other way to negate or minimize the cap impact (like Bickell or Scuderi). But both of those things are unlikely, especially the trade of Bickell.

    I will support Stan’s decision, whatever it is, because deciding what to do is a tough call.

  12. Toews was on fire before these last 9 games. He had 10 games where he scored at a 1 point per game rate. Shaw was also excellent starting with Coach Q calling Bickell-Rasmussen and inventing that SF line.

    This line is on fire because Hossa finally started scoring some goals and left behind his frustrations. A happy Hossa makes everybody better.

    PS: I watched the TSn coverage on the Hawks-Leafs game. They said some interesting facts:

    1. the Leafs have played 2 rookies up until this point the season. The Blackhawks played 10. Like…which one’s the team in transition.

    2. when a team plays a back to back the rested team wins 68% of the time. They didn’t mention the sample, I suppose it’s this season, but I found it pretty suggestive.

  13. I think with the success of Kane and the second line what Toews and the first line has contributed has been overlooked. Toews is leading the team in penalty minutes and has had 7 game winners including overtime goals and is leading the team in that department. Also with 19 goals already he may be able to beat his high of 35 goals. He seems to have upped his game and is playing a more physical presence by going to the net more. I like what Shaw has brought to the line. He is willing to fight it out on the boards or in front of the net and I think most people are forgetting he is only 24 years old and is still improving and taking on a more important role. What more can be said about Hossa is that he is a future Hall of Famer and makes any line he is on great. This line looks different with Shaw at LW instead of Saad or Sharp from previous years but I like the grittiness it has shown plus it is always one of the top defensive lines in the league. Having two such strong lines makes it very tough on other teams, They are really lines 1 and 1A. Also I liked what the captain said the other night. As a team they are trying to have fun and keep improving. You can’t have a better approach at this time in the season. Go Hawks!

  14. Dickie, I would not trade any top prospects in lineup or Rockford. I do not mind the picks though. I agree with your theory as well as Walls about goalie concept but I want depth and extra depth (Bowman gets good deals)(no need to trade top prospects to get depth players) and thought it was good idea to keep Crow.

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