Saad Scores Twice, Crawford Finishes Shootout Win In Arizona

After what felt like a year away for the all-star break and then the bye week, the Chicago Blackhawks returned to action on Saturday evening in Arizona with some reinforcements in the lineup. Dylan Strome returned after missing time because of an ankle injury and found himself back on a line with Alex DeBrincat – but on the wing.

Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton opened the game with the following forward lines:

Dominik Kubalik – Jonathan Toews – Drake Caggiula
Brandon Saad – Kirby Dach – Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat – David Kampf – Dylan Strome
Zack Smith – Ryan Carpenter – Alex Nylander

Matthew Highmore and Dennis Gilbert were the healthy scratches for the game against an Arizona team four points ahead of Chicago in the Western Conference.

Before the game, Kubalik was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for January. Kubalik led all rookies in goals (10) and points (14) in 10 games in the first month of the calendar year.

While Kubalik and Toews have been terrific together since the start of 2020, the line that is most intriguing and exciting on paper from the above setup is Saad-Dach-Kane. Kane came into the game with an 11-game point streak. Saad had been hot after returning from injury, scoring in three straight and Dach had points in the Hawks’ final two games before the long layoff.

So how would the new-look Hawks lines play against a struggling Coyotes team? And how would they hold up against Arizona’s throwback Kachina jerseys?

Not surprisingly, Arizona looked more fresh in the first period. The Coyotes were playing their third game since the all-star break but were without Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

While the Coyotes looked more ready to play when the puck dropped, the Hawks did a good job of generating chances with most of the new lines. And 12 minutes into the game that sexy new second line cashed in. Kane set up Saad and he sniped one home to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Saad’s 14th of the season was the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. Kane’s assist on the goal extended his point streak to an NHL-leading 12 games.

Even though the Blackhawks had two power plays to Arizona’s one in the first period, the Coyotes held a 12-11 shot advantage after the first. Corey Crawford was on point in net.

Less than five minutes into the second period the second line went to work again. This time Dach got the puck to Kane who, once again, set up Saad for the goal.

Saad’s 15th of the year came off Kane’s 40th assist of the campaign. Dach extended his personal point streak to three games with the secondary helper.

In the middle of the second period Corey Crawford fought off a shot from the side of the net. Unfortunately, the rebound was left on the doorstep and Brad Richardson flipped in his fourth of the season to cut Chicago’s lead in half.

Rookie Adam Boqvist continued to work with Duncan Keith on the blue line and that pair continued to be impressive. The chemistry they have developed over the past month is impressive and they played off each other nicely, creating a few scoring chances in the game’s opening two periods.

With 100 seconds left in the period Slater Koekkoek made a brutal decision and it came back to hurt the Hawks. Conor Garland, playing in his 100th career regular season game, scored his 17th of the season to tie the game.

Chicago got another power play in the closing seconds of the middle period but weren’t able to score. The Hawks carried 1:37 of advantage time over to begin the third period with Jakob Chychrun in the box.

After dominating the opening half of the second period – a stretch that saw the Blackhawks credited with 10 of the first 11 shots on net – the Hawks finished with a 16-12 shot advantage in the period. Unfortunately, the score was tied after 40 minutes. The Blackhawks appeared to have some tired legs in the final eight minutes of the period and it cost them.

The Hawks were getting smoked at the dot through 40 minutes; Arizona won 59 percent of the faceoffs in the first two periods. Jonathan Toews won seven of 12 in the first two periods. Though Dach was listed as the center on the second line, Saad (four) had taken more faceoffs than Dach (three) through two periods. At some point, if the Blackhawks see Dach as a center, they’re going to have to let him take more frequent faceoffs. Colliton appears to be tentative to give the kid too many chances.

DeBrincat continues to struggle to get on an offensive roll, but he was active early with Strome back on his line. He led Chicago skaters with five shots on net in 9:51 in the first two periods.

Antti Raanta made a huge save on a terrific look for DeBrincat with 17 seconds left on the power play that carried over to start the third period. Dach flipped a puck around his back while engaged in front of the net to a wide open DeBrincat but Raanta was there in time. The Coyotes escaped the short-handed time; Chicago was 0-3 on the power play.

With 15 minutes left in regulation Crawford returned the favor. Taylor Hall appeared to have a wide open cage after receiving a nice pass from Garland but Crawford took away the angle and stoned Hall.

After the Hawks got three straight power plays Arizona got a couple in the first 12 minutes of the third period. Olli Maatta took a seat at 6:48 and Toews was banished for two minutes at 10:03 but the Coyotes failed to score on either advantage.

On a night full of incredible saves, Raanta stealing what could have been a third goal for Saad was the most amazing.

Raanta and Crawford made a few more big saves but the final two minutes saw two teams willingly waste time to pick up a point in the standings.

Arizona held the puck alone behind their net for the final six seconds of regulation without any effort to move it up the ice. Regulation came to a close with the score still tied at two.

The Blackhawks had a 41-38 shot advantage after 60 minutes of hockey. Dach actually got some work at the dot in the third; he finished regulation winning one of seven faceoffs. Toews won half of 20 faceoffs in regulation.

On to overtime we went.

The opening two minutes of overtime was overwhelmingly in favor of the Blackhawks. Saad had a couple good looks and then Kubalik stripped Nick Schmaltz and got a breakaway with 3:15 left in overtime but Raanta was able to come out and make another huge save.

Raanta forced a shootout with some tremendous saves. Erik Gustafsson got dumped by Derek Stepan in the final minute to end a Hawks possession and send the game to the skills competition.

Toews undressed Raanta to open the shootout. The move really wasn’t kind or fair. Crawford then stopped Schmaltz.

Kane then took his time waiting for Raanta to commit and was able to flip a backhand over Raanta.

Crawford stoned Garland and the Blackhawks skated off with the second point.

Boqvist skated 16:05 and led the Hawks with five blocked shots. He was, somehow, the only Blackhawks defenseman without at least two shots on net.

DeBrincat led all skaters with eight shots on net. Saad was credited with five and Kane put four on net.

Dach put two shots on net and was credited with one assist in 19:54.

Nylander was the only skated on the Chicago roster with less than 11 minutes of ice time. He was limited to 9:49.

68 thoughts on “Saad Scores Twice, Crawford Finishes Shootout Win In Arizona

  1. Going back to that STL 3-0 lead in 3rd game, we have ‘played’ good and in way more then the 50/50% of the time we did the first 33 games.

  2. Both goalies were really good so not sure if its a goalie win. I guess who ever won it was that. That, usually, though is when one goalie plays that good when the other team dominates. The game was pretty even overall. Loved the celebration it looks like a team that cares about winning and coming together.

  3. One of the most entertaining games of the year despite having to listen to the awful Arizona feed. Kane and Toews shootout goals were sick. The young guys had another solid game. Boquist made a couple of nice plays against Taylor Hall and is holding his own physically. Dach played almost 20 minutes and with Kane and Saad looked very good. Dcat needs a lucky bounce, he had a number of grade A chances but couldn’t catch a break. Hardly noticed that Nick Schmaltz was even playing.

  4. We had the goalies the whole time. Then we got Dunks back thats when it turned around/got going. Not just that though, Tazer got past his-injury that was keeping him from winning the norm for faceoffsl. Thats when I knew 19 had truned the corner, his faceoffs was off the charts for a few games. Since then 19 has been ‘playing’ and 8 got going when on the line and 20 comes back.

    Yea 12 and 17 were looking good. Plus give 77 some time here and he could make that line even better.

  5. Next game v Minnesota I think, Crawford owns them over his career. He’s at the top of his game right now. No way he shouldn’t play the next game. And so on. If Lehner plays the next game, then the two of them should rotate consistently barring injury.

    Smith & Carpenter more effective w Highmore than Nylander.

  6. DeBrincat looked great tonight. Those shots will start going in. I don’t remember him having this many good chances in a game recently. Yes, his shooting percentage is well down from previous years, but it will normalize when he goes on a streak. This is how Toews broke out of his slump. After being dormant for 10 or 15 games, he started getting great opportunities that wouldn’t go in and the people he passed to had great chances and could not score and then all at once he and his teammates started scoring. DeBrincat played too well to have this go on for much longer. He played so well that I don’t even remember any egregious turnovers in the middle of the ice. But we can always count on Gus for those and he did not disappoint.

    Kubalik showed no signs of slowing down. His shooting percentage will go down from what it was, but if he keeps playing like this – and he has all year, the goals will start happening again and it will take a lot of money to re-sign him.

    Dach looked very good but the face off thing is a problem.

    The goaltenders were exceptional. The OT was really fun. It is sure nice to have hockey back.

  7. Crawford shut the door and give them the chance. Great game for him.

    Actually liked the lines, Dach Kane and Saad really creating and playing with the puck alot. Debrincat, Strome creating back together creating chances, need somebody defensively capable with them to help them not get pinned in own end, Kampf best option right now, as he been best fo guy last couple of months not wearing 19. Only one tonite who won more than he lost in fos, 8 and 4 plus gives more speed on that line than other options right now besides 19 and 77.
    Agree like to see Highmore with 22 and 15 next game.

    Koekkoek had a weird game looked good one shift then bad the next, seemed that way all night pretty much.

    Iceman with schedule from when they start west trip for a few weeks it will likely be game about. Play alot and not alot of off days in there.

  8. Holy shit – anyone watching Flames-Oilers. Unbelievable games this week and just boiled over to an all-out brawl with goalies meeting at center ice and dropping the gloves and going at it. Haven’t seen that in a long,long time.

  9. Thought the Hawks looked like a team that was off for 10 days.The back checking was slow and passing was off.We have to remember here that the Coyotes were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights,they were without their top defenseman and for some reason Tochet threw the just called up rookie d man out there at the worst times.Hall,Kessel,Shmaltz,Hinostroza rode on the ghost train for the most part.If it wasnt for their 4th line and Garland it would have been a blowout.The Kane,Saad,Dach line was sharp and dangerous all night.92 just cant put together a full game or even back to back decent shifts 27,2,and 5 all had great defensive games along with Crawford getting better as the game went on.As for 12,I guess being an old hard ass I will go back to the old Brett HULL line when a reporter told him he had a good game with lots of chances.”THEY PAY ME TO SCORE GOALS.IF I DONT DO THAT I HAVENT DONE MY JOB”.

  10. How many back to backs and 3rd in 4 nights did Blackhawks win this year, funny not once are the guys given credit for those wins. Toews was in a slump and he was washed up, that’s gone away, Saad’s hands were gone when he was in a slump, that talk went away too. Debrincat’s in a slump, that’s hockey. He’ll come out of it too.

  11. Ian, regarding Koekkoek… He’s the 6th D. For right now at least I’ll take what hes been bringing. One bad bad decision. But the rest was pretty good. Better than the other option.

  12. Saw the goalie fight MS. That was great. Smith throttled Talbot. But Talbot had some good ones on Gagner…no clue what Gagner was doing diving on Talbot easily 3 seconds late.

    Ian, Kapanen like I suspected when they said Keefe would address the situation after the game… “Internal accountability” probably late to a practice or meeting.

  13. Rusty agree, compared to turnstile Gilbert, Koekoek Norris Trophy contender. For the time being, he’s been doing a decent job. Let’s leave him alone. Tvr is no better for certain.

    Another injury on the D would be bad. If they stay in contention by deadline, that’s what they need, a D man on expiring contract. Who knows, maybe one of the Rockford D men can step in like Hjallmerrson did in 08-09 season from minors. It’s certainly not Gilbert.

  14. I like what Koekkoek has done too, just had an off and on night i thought, not just one play.

    Yeah saw they got that out quick after the Kapanen talk started that Keefe would address it to nip the trade talk in the butt pretty quick.

  15. ARI also has been getting beat by everyone they have been playing, regardless if they are in 3 in 4.

    Were also playing without 7 65 and had been without 17 20 so it happens to most teams at some point. We ve already paid out dues with injurys, its other teams turn now.

  16. maybe one of the Rockford D men can step in like Hjallmerrson did in 08-09 season from minors

    Thats got Mitch written all over it.

  17. Yes uneven game from 4K but I agree he’s overall been playing well

    Disagree on Highmore in for Nylander – that line created some good looks most of them involving Nylander – Highmore can’t do that

    DCat can’t buy a goal but tonight he finally looked more like the DCat from the last 2 years so that’s a good sign

    I like the lines also and having Strome back in the line up

    27, 77, 8 keep impressing – I like it!

    Well deserved win – could have easily gone the other way but it didn’t

  18. THE CROW is the CROW! So happy for him and once again proving at the age of 35 that he is a money goalie! Has been his entire career.
    Finally JC puts Dach where he belongs as a 2nd line center! Who cares about face offs at 19 years old, give him a few years!
    But, placing Strome on the wing with his skating is brutal to watch. Put Kampf on the wing!
    Carpenter is where he belongs, 4th line or AHL.
    DCat can play right wing with Strome at center and for now Kampf on the left, either way Strome meeds to play center. As a 3rd line he will go up against a 3rd line center which is fine!

  19. HULL,Very well put.I figured I would let someone else bring up Strome for a change.He does not play well along the walls to say the least.His skating keeps getting worse.He had at least 3 breakouts tonight from the wing where he should have been in alone with quality chances and ended up shooting from a distance as he was caught from behind.If that line stays together he has to switch spots with Kamph.Hopefully Highmore gets in tuesday night for Nylander.

  20. Same Raanta when we had him, stands on his head until he gets to a shootout, then it’s not pretty.

  21. Playing in the defensive zone in this system the center is to act as 3rd defenseman, that’s where Kampf playing there is better in low slot and winger in high area out by blueline where Strome seems to handle better. His speed also makes catching with play transitioning up ice easier. Strome was asked about playing so much on wing this season and he said he was always a center but is doing what he needs to do to help the team.

  22. Perhaps it’s time to give Gus a bit more love-playing better at both ends. Still takes too many chances but he has settled a bit.

    Arizona feed-lots of complaining-hard to take.

  23. That OT was bonkers. My kids were up watching with me and the “ooohs, aaaahs, and OMGs” were so fun to hear between their giggles.
    Even though I despise shootouts, it was very satisfying watching 19 and 88 go filthy dirty. 50 shutting the door on Schmaltz was was the icing on the cake.

  24. Agree with all the comments re: Strome at centre or wing

    It’s a bit of a dilemma because as centre he needs to be good in the D zone and as a winger he needs to be good on the wall – neither of these areas Strome is strong in

    I’m OK with trying to make the wing work for now – Kampf is better defensively as a C and Strome can be a little more up the ice to coming out out the D zone as a winger hopefully mitigating some of the skating issue

    If it’s not working he’ll have to switch positions with 64 – that line played pretty well all considered

  25. Comment on SO. Anyone think it’s possible for the NHL to end them?

    Even being on the winning end of it, they are annoying

  26. Noonan, except for that backhand pass to Saad when he was 5 feet in front of Crawford. When Saad came off he was laughing and you could tell he wasn’t expecting that. Not the smartest decision.

  27. Nettle are you talking about Lehner? One of our two net minders if not both are going to go. Must get a number 1 for them to have another ping pong ball chance at La Franchise.

  28. If I had the number 1 pick I’d be tempted to go Byfield over Lafreniere. Byfield is almost a year younger. He’s only a few weeks from being a 2021 drafted. He doesn’t have the supporting cast Lafreniere has. Then again he didn’t have nearly the production Lafreniere had at the WJC.

    Any pick you get in a trade is probably going to be lottery protected. At the very least the acquiring is going to expect to make the playoffs.

  29. I still think Gilbert can be valuable to this team. This group can always use toughness and gritt. Strome coming off injury maybe cut the kid some slack

  30. Hull65.

    Love it welcome back from the dark side of doom and gloom. If Shaw is not back this year. looks like the Hawks need a wing for Strome/Dcat. maybe Nylander or Highmore can grow in the next dozen games. Like the 4th line of Carp/Kampf/Smith.

    Maybe the Hawks need an upgrade at DEF. Gus is actually being more responsible. It is amazing to see how much he has improved. The Hawks may want to sign him if he continues down this path.

  31. Appreciate the positivity Hull. I think faceoffs are overrated, but they do have value and Dach has sucked at them since Junior.

  32. Thought the same thing with 64 at center Ian. Also for the players and coaches who didnt quit when people said crap about them. Stuck with it until they actually did the structure. Then we get 91 back then 20 back after 2 came back and 19 wasnt playing hurt/hand-wrist thing and 8 was allowed to play with other top 6 players and the 4th line players filtered to the 4th line and the Defensemen in positions/pairs partners where they can do well at.

    Still donot have 7 65 44. Thats good players right there. Maybe we do add a Defensemen/faceoff center depth at deadline.

  33. @FanO2: OT and shootouts are gimmicky but they are exciting and in the sunshine markets, where purists are few, pulling them would probably undercut attendance. As well, as time goes by, a new generation of fans has come along that have never seen a game end in a tie. So no, you can’t take something the fans like away from them so they are both here for good.

    One thing I have always felt is that the shootouts might be better if there were a clock on the shooter. Penalty shots are awarded when a player on a breakaway is hauled down and a player on a breakaway never has the opportunity to slow down to a crawl the way Kane does in the shootouts. That said, it can be argued that penalty and/or shootout shots do not have to be the same thing as a breakaway which I imagine is what the league would say.

  34. Geez Hull. You ought to be embarrassed for not understanding what a center’s responsibility is on this team. I thought you were the know it all about the Hawks and hockey? I admit I laughed at your comments about Strome being better suited as a center on that line. I am hoping you were just kidding. Now please tell me that all you wanted was some attention on the board, and that you don’t really believe what you said. Or not. Ian, Wrap and others hit the mark. The center is the 3rd defender. That’s hockey in most places – but apparently not in your mind.

    I thought 92 did about all he could out there. I’m fine with him playing that hard on the 4th line. Games – he needs games to gain confidence. Let him develop on the 4th line. 4K (I like that tag!!) had a major blunder bomb go off. But that happens to most everyone on our d-line.

    PK improvement was a necessity this year. The pickup of 15 and 22 make a huge difference – vets who know how important doing the right things at that time are.

    Stone Hands Kampf continues to improve. I like it. Keep him around please.

    Let’s hope that 20 continues to dominate hockey games offensively too. We’ve seen his defensive abilities – now we need a little more consistency from the offense side. Nice run for him right now.

    With all of the streaky players we have – getting one hot at a time is nice to help take the pressure off 19 and 88. Calling all Dcats. Needed on the ice to perform again. Please. But thanks for being more responsible with the puck. That improvement is critical for you to sustain.

  35. The Hawks are on a nice little roll recently – 6 wins in the last 7 games. Putting that into perspective – only one of those wins came against a team currently in playoff position – but they won the games so at the very least they have been better than other non-playoff teams which is an improvement from earlier this season.

    And they have improved, at least from the eyeball test (don’t really look at analytics so I can’t comment on that). The games remaining until the TDL are a mixture of playoff and non-playoff teams so we’ll see if their playoff viability is credible over the next few weeks.

    A few weeks ago I was adamant that the Hawks should be sellers at the TDL. But now that they’ve crept to within striking distance … I’m finding it more difficult to want Stan to chuck away the season by trading away assets that could help the team make the playoffs. Having said that – I’m still not to the point where I want Stan to be a buyer at the TDL because I don’t think the Hawks are good enough to do any damage in the playoffs. So … where does that leave me? Do I now want him to stand pat? I’m more of an “take action” guy than a “stand pat” guy. This really has me in a confused state.

  36. I actually like Kaner/others pushing the rules-limits on shootouts and 3on3 so they get rid of it and the divisions for that matter.

    Hockey has always been, people of the North-the ‘right’ kind of Quality crowd. none of this stinking root beer people.

    Flatlanders do not belong in this classic sport. They belong in the sports that ‘fit’ them. ‘They’ say its about the money and things. Fine when the league should be getting rid of two teams, they add two and wtaer down the league even more.

    The general public are idiots and thats why football and other are more popular/money because theres more general public people out there.

    Dont change hockey, its not your style.

  37. I am fine with the improvement of the team this year. I wish it had started sooner, but we didn’t have the leadership we needed from players to make that happen. The playoffs may actually hurt us more than help if we don’t make some necessary changes because of the playoff push. I get the financial side – but long term it could hurt us.

    The unknown about the LT injuries is the key going forward, and who knows when that will get resolved. But at least now we can see the team for what it is and evaluate the talent we have. That includes the coaching staff.

    Really pleased with the effort the past 2 months. The rest takes care of itself.

  38. Great game last night. Coaches really need to do something about our non existent power play, though. I cringe when we get one. 5 on 5 play is always better. What gives?

  39. @Mo: I didn’t like OT and the shootout when they first came out, but I have come to accept them. I just find it a bit unfair to the goalies that the shooters are allowed to slow down and turn them in to pretzels before shooting. That would never happen in real time.

  40. Rusty,Gauthier and now Byfield???Those are some big boys.Have I brought you over to the dark side?Next thing I know you will be moving the Strome Battleship out of here.

  41. What really, I mean really, do not like about the shootouts-and 3on3 in ways, is the goalies are in posisitons-can be that they wouldnt normally and could get hurt. That would be great for a top 10 team to have there goalie hurt because of shootout crap. In terms of the point system, a of of people think you have to have 2pts for one team no matter what and i think that is wrong.

    Then those same people then say well it should just be 3 pts per game for every game then, with for regulation. Thta is just wrong.

    Its backwards thinking. If a game is tied after a 4 on 4-actual hockey after 5 min OT then 1 pt each. Theres too many points ‘given’ to teams because of shootout. If there was no shootout, then teams would try more on 4 on 4 with nothing to loose because your notgtting a free pt shootout wise.

    Like you donot score a real goal then its a tie.

  42. Its sort my beef with other sports, like baseball/football. You cant have teams get a free round, home field is enough advantage as it is. Or have one game playoffs-5 game 1st round for that matter, for the top two teams in conference, they have to play a one game playoff and one team is out? That is Fuced.

    One game playoff should, only, happen when it the last two teams in tied for 8 seed and thats it.

    Every round should be 7 games and every team should play same amount of rounds. So baseball wants 8 teams instead of 4/6, thats cool. Get rid of 162 games, play 140 or something and have ‘real’ rounds every round. Same for football.

    So you can see why I am saying about shootout and 3on3, its more then hockey the leagues are ‘trying’ too much. Like the exciting tshirt guns, wtf is that.

    That shit is for tailgating, not game live time action.

  43. Yea so like your saying not in real time. I donot want players getting hurt because of this crap. Its a team sport not a free throw/3 pt shooting contest.

  44. Mo one difference with Nhl than other leagues is the league wants as many games as possible to go to ot. Other sports tend to present opportunities to win late and teams go for it. Where in hockey the last few minutes of regulation in a time game is just a prepare for ot time. They could go 3 pts for regulation win, 2 for ot win and 1 pt for ot loss to give more incentive to win in regulation some value. Not ideal either but might be a compromise but league seems to not want there in anyway. That is my biggest beef not enough urgency to win in regulation rather than a dislike of 3 on 3 which during season, even if it does diminish total team wins and stresses a few skilled players competition . At no time should a change in playoff ot be considered or your taking the team game concept out ut altogether then.

  45. Wonder how it would fly with 6 aside ot in football or 2 infielders and 2 outfielders in extra inning baseball or 3 on 3 basketball ot.

  46. EB agree nice run against mostly non playoff teams, Bruins and west trip will really tell how far this team has come or still needs to go, quite possibly make or break stretch on how this season ends up. Definitely a major factor in what tdl brings.

    Tim not against moving Strome if the right deal comes along. But he has produced pretty good and has alot of chemistry with Debrincat that has potential, so at this point, with both just coming off elcs, breaking that up just to move him, wouldn’t be in for that.

  47. Ian,Just wish he could improve his skating
    Other guys his age have done it.It really is holding him back.My opinion is he has to get a Bridge show me Contract so he would have the opportunity to at least be a 3rd line center with Debrincat and a strong defensive forward on his wings.

  48. If you think this team could actually do something in the playoffs and Im not sure they can…. Would you trade Strome for Getzlaf at half retained?

  49. JORDYHAWK

    Had last night we watched hockey with someone whose never seen a game. Would have she/he found the shoot out exciting? Yes. Would she/he thought they should elimatie and go back to ties? No

    Is that going to change my opinion how I’d like it. No. But you make a good argument as why the NHL likely will never go back. :)

  50. I don’t like Byfield because of his size. Same with Gauthier. I like Gauthier because he scores a lot on the PP. Byfield isn’t that much bigger than Lafreniere. But he’s almost a full year younger and doesn’t have the teammates the francophone has. Ive never been opposed to moving Strome. I’m not sure what his ask is going to be in the cap structure. Regardless of Strome’s skating, his defense is what troubles me the most. Pivots in hockey need to be able to defend. Centermen with his skill set need to defend and get to the front of the net.

    Size doesn’t mean too terribly much. Would it be nice to have? Sure. But usually when you have size, the legs move a little slower ( see Strome). A small player can hit and cancel out a player in a play just as easily as a player 3 inches taller. That’s all you look for when laying a hit.

    Another idea might be to move Strome this summer for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. No way Strome can have that cap hit. But the production is relatively close. RNH would have 1 more year until UFA. It would cancel out any possibility of signing a top 4 defenseman. But I’m not thrilled with the idea of giving a 30 yr old D 6.5-8.5mil for 6+ years anyway (see Seabrook or Phaneuf).

  51. Tim not sure why you think center is a better spot, alot of the reason that Barrett is projected as a better winger by many is due to his lack of speed. Look at the young centers, Mcdavid, MacKinnon, Barzal, Larkin etc speed up the middle us crucial in todays game. That’s going to be a plus for Dach, his speed when gets going. Defense big issue too and on wing not as much requirement to play 200ft all the time, compensates for speed some.

    Rusty would have a hard time on the Getzlaf deal, RNH be easier but not sure Holland would touch that one.

  52. Actually any deals woukd prefer young player Nhl ready to help now and be around for awhile. Maybe Gauthier but don’t enough about his overall game to get too excited.

  53. Agree, said before hoping both him and Kubalik sign for not more than 3yr/ 3.5m per. Kinda like Kapanen and Johnsson did with Leafs.

  54. Well.
    Team showing huge signs of improvement.

    Board work still leaves much to be desired (see 64, 12, 17, 56, and the ghost that is 92) and the defense depth is RAZOR thin.

    That last one is on Bozo Bowman to fix after not doing it for 3 years.

    But young 77 is growing into a solid center, and goaltending is solid.

    Now if coach Greg Brady finally realizes center is where 77 should be and he does not decide to put him between the pipes or somewhere else 77 does not belong, 77 can learn to win face offs from 19, and the Hawks will have a budding star on their hands.

  55. Blackhawks shouldn’t be buyers at tdl. Too many needs to become a serious contender. Trade slow Strome for a mid-2nd rd pick, Gus as well. DCat for a late 1st rd pick?

  56. Anybody who gets a chance to catch the Beanpot semi finals today, 3 Blackhawks prospects playing. In early game Ryan Shea of Northeastern and late game Alex Vlassic and Jake Wise of BU.

  57. Not saying we should be, buyers, at deadline though I would add any player that we need-for the long run. If thats when they are available.

  58. Just want to point out to all the Strome detractors, Strome is currently third on the team in point production with a 0.73 ppg in 41 games. Any plan to trade him that does not involve bringing in someone who can replace his production is taking a step backwards.

  59. Just to piggy back on Miro’s comments (which I had pointed out before in favourable comparison to the amazing Nick Schmaltz) I think some people are disrespecting what Strome brings and what his upside could be

    He’s worth way more than a 2nd round pick or a fading Getzlaf IMO

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