Toews Finding Chemistry, Points With Schmaltz, Panik

As coach Joel Quenneville continues to search for consistency in his lineup, he may have found a winning combination.

Jonathan Toews has found his offensive groove over the last few weeks, and his chemistry with Richard Panik and Nick Schmaltz has turned that line into a dangerous trio. That group getting hot has helped the Blackhawks win six of their last nine games.

Toews has been among the league’s hottest point producers. In his last nine games, Toews has four goals and eight assists; his 12 points since Jan. 17 are tied for fifth in the NHL. Chicago’s captain is also winning 52 percent of his faceoffs since Jan. 17 as well.

Schmaltz, who turns 21 on Feb. 23, returned to the lineup on Jan. 15 and has since started to get regular ice time with Toews and Panik. Over his last nine games, Schmaltz has scored three goals with one assist and is plus-one. Schmaltz is tied with Patrick Kane for the team lead with eight takeaways over those nine games.

A big key to Schmaltz’s game has been getting the puck on net. Earlier in the season, the rookie deferred to his veteran teammates to a fault, passing when easy shot opportunities presented themselves. In 26 games on October thru December, Schmaltz put only 16 shots on net in 26 games. Over his last nine games, Schmaltz has put 13 shots on net.

Schmaltz’s willingness to shoot the puck has positively impacted Toews as well. Among forwards who have skated more than four minutes with Toews, Artemi Panarin (64.4 in 131:16 together) is the only forward with whom the Captain has a higher Corsi For percentage than Schmaltz (53.33 in 107:55 together).

Panik, who turned 26 on Feb. 7, has two goals and four assists over his last nine contests. He also ranks second on the Hawks with 13 hits over that stretch (Brent Seabrook has 15).

The two wingers have blocked shots as well. Panik (five) and Schmaltz (three) rank third and fourth, respectively, among Blackhawks forwards in blocked shots over the last nine games; rookie Tanner Kero has blocked 13 to pace Chicago forwards during that time frame.

Originally a second round pick (#52) by Tampa in 2009, Panik was acquired from Toronto in a trade that was immediately considered a throw away by both teams. Stan Bowman sent forward Jeremy Morin to the Leafs to get Panik on Jan. 3, 2016.

14 thoughts on “Toews Finding Chemistry, Points With Schmaltz, Panik

  • February 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I don’t see Panik as a legit top-6 winger but he’s good enough to be a fill-in until there’s a better option and he’s certainly a better player than Morin. At the very least he is a solid bottom-6 guy.

  • February 9, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Panik trade, Bowman you stallion you.

  • February 9, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Fun line to watch right now

  • February 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Off topic, but did anyone ever dream that Dallas would be 28th in the league standings at the 55 game mark? It’s humbling for me. I thought they were one of the contenders when the season started.

  • February 10, 2017 at 8:34 am

    re: “I don’t see Panik as a legit top-6 winger but he’s good enough” – remember Tomas Kopecky?

  • February 10, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Now if Q can just let them play together for a while we can see if they get even better with time. Might be time to move Kero and Hartman with Hossa to form a solid 3rd line that can score and be responsible defensively. Then Kruger, Hino, Moose and the occasional Desi or 22 if you need someone to drop the gloves for a game, for your 4th line. Might not be enough to win the cup but I would rather not rent a player and give up anyone that can help us get the cup back in a year or so.

  • February 10, 2017 at 9:03 am

    57….I would switch Hino and Kero. I believe that would give the Hawks 3 lines that can score and 1 line that can responsibly chew up 10 minutes a game. We saw a lot of teams key on defending the Hawks second line. That makes the top and 3d line more dangerous. If lines 1 and 3 can continue to score, other teams will have to spread out their defensive strategies to defend 3 scoring lines. That will help loosen up the second line.

  • February 10, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Theres not a team in the west i’d bet on against the blackhawks and thats not saying it is going to be a walk in the park and roll over everyone. Could they be beat certainly thats a possibility every year but they are definitely one of if not the favorite in the west and to think in the final they are not capable of beating any team in a 7 game series is ludicrous.

  • February 10, 2017 at 10:13 am

    @Mike57: good post on all counts.

  • February 10, 2017 at 11:28 am

    BLS- I would have expected Dallas to be a good bet on making the playoffs. The team that really surprises me is Tampa Bay. The Stamkos injury is part of the problem but they have way too much offensive talent to be struggling for a playoff spot.

  • February 10, 2017 at 11:50 am

    The comment on Panik as not being a top line guy is utter nonsense. He has been inconsistent but his skills are beyond question-he totally fits on a top line. Good point in defending 1 & 3 lines, the number 2 line will get better chances as the D thins.

  • February 10, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Panik has done an admirable job filling in but he is not a top 6 talent. He is a good skater and heavy hitter but is not highly offensively skilled. He does not have the best hands and is not a possession guy. His Corsi number is below 50.

  • February 10, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t know whether Panik is top 6, bottom 6, or what but he continues to impress. Among other things he gets to the net and also there are a lot of opposing defenseman checking their rear view mirrors when he is on the ice. Panik, Hartmann, and Ras are all hard on the puck and that’s something we’ve needed to add. These guys are tough and they compete.

  • February 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Ian. Can’t agree more with your assessment. As usual year after year we have a great chance of winning it all and still we have to put up with some negative so called fans. If it wasn’t for a fluke goal in 2014 against the Queens I mean Kings we would have 4 cups in this decade.

    Of course the head clown thought we’d be sellers at the trade deadline! LOL.

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