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Forums :: Blog World :: Justin Lowe: Will He Make the Team: Matthew Highmore
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Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Aug 29 @ 8:10 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Will He Make the Team: Matthew Highmore Matthew Highmore finally achieved his lifelong dream on March 2nd, 2018 by signing a contract with an NHL team.

After going undrafted, his production in the QMJHL was could not go unnoticed any longer.

Will he make the Blackhawks this year?
Ogilthorpe2
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: 37,000 FT
Joined: 07.09.2009

Aug 29 @ 8:22 AM ET
tvetter
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Burkesville, KY
Joined: 12.16.2015

Aug 29 @ 8:23 AM ET
so if Ejdsell makes the team, do you think we could see a top 6 of:

Saad-Toews-ADB
Ejdsell-Schmaltz-Kane

and if Highmore makes it:

Saad-Toews-Sikura
ADB-Schmaltz-Kane?
Hawkster
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Ottawa, ON
Joined: 06.13.2008

Aug 29 @ 8:32 AM ET
so if Ejdsell makes the team, do you think we could see a top 6 of:

Saad-Toews-ADB
Ejdsell-Schmaltz-Kane

and if Highmore makes it:

Saad-Toews-Sikura
ADB-Schmaltz-Kane?

- tvetter


Can you say lottery pick?
Hopefully they tank so bad Q and Bowman will be flushed and we get a high pick and maybe dump some of the core and really start a true rebuild.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Aug 29 @ 8:39 AM ET
Small correction JL...Highmore signed March 2017.

I'd expect to see Highmore play in Chicago sometime this season, but not to start. I wouldn't be surprised if he got the call over guys like Ejdsell and Fortin.

tvetter
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Burkesville, KY
Joined: 12.16.2015

Aug 29 @ 8:44 AM ET
Can you say lottery pick?
Hopefully they tank so bad Q and Bowman will be flushed and we get a high pick and maybe dump some of the core and really start a true rebuild.

- Hawkster

Yeah, not so good. We really need someone to step up into that final top six role. We have Kane, Toews, Schmaltz, ADB and Saad, but who rounds it out? I think the top 3 contenders are Sikura, Kahun or Ejdsell. If its Sikura or Kahun, do we split Saad and Toews to get at least some size on both lines? The problem I have with that is Toews. He looked weaker on the puck than I've ever seen last year. If you put him with 2 small forwards, I worry that his line won't be able to maintain possession. If you leave Saad with him, you have a second line of 3 highly skilled players, but no size. Putting AA or Ejdsell on line 2 could solve that issue, but I don't think
either of them are top 6 caliber players right now.

ETA: if AA ends up on line 2, who is centering line 3? This could be where Highmore gets his shot.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Aug 29 @ 8:52 AM ET
Small correction JL...Highmore signed March 2017.

I'd expect to see Highmore play in Chicago sometime this season, but not to start. I wouldn't be surprised if he got the call over guys like Ejdsell and Fortin.

- DarthKane


Thank you sir.
Taylorst1
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 07.09.2018

Aug 29 @ 8:58 AM ET
Nice little piece you wrote up Justin. The PTO signing leads me to believe Stan doesn't have a clue how to run this team. All this hype of all these young promising defenseman and yet instead of truly going with a youth movement to allow whom I believe are ready and best suited to play and learn and contribute to their readiness, guys like Hillman Joki,, forsling , Stans going to bring in another defenseman whom can't be sent down should he make the team.



Also who is going to play top 6 ? Hayden I think will never evolve into a effective contributing player just a waste of cap money.



I get it you have to give up value to get a return and the hawks are not in that position , who then do you see actually filling that hole this year ? Sikura, edsel, Shaun?
tvetter
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Burkesville, KY
Joined: 12.16.2015

Aug 29 @ 9:10 AM ET
Nice little piece you wrote up Justin. The PTO signing leads me to believe Stan doesn't have a clue how to run this team. All this hype of all these young promising defenseman and yet instead of truly going with a youth movement to allow whom I believe are ready and best suited to play and learn and contribute to their readiness, guys like Hillman Joki,, forsling , Stans going to bring in another defenseman whom can't be sent down should he make the team.



Also who is going to play top 6 ? Hayden I think will never evolve into a effective contributing player just a waste of cap money.



I get it you have to give up value to get a return and the hawks are not in that position , who then do you see actually filling that hole this year ? Sikura, edsel, Shaun?

- Taylorst1


Why wouldn't they be able to send him down? They did it to Franson last year.
6628
Joined: 08.24.2009

Aug 29 @ 9:11 AM ET
One would hope at least one of these guys shows up with "Shaw-like" determination and pleasantly surprises everyone.
Ogilthorpe2
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: 37,000 FT
Joined: 07.09.2009

Aug 29 @ 9:15 AM ET
Can you say lottery pick?
Hopefully they tank so bad Q and Bowman will be flushed and we get a high pick and maybe dump some of the core and really start a true rebuild.

- Hawkster

Right? Because everyone knows that if we had a real coach (not some future hall of famer), and a real GM (not some papas boy accountant) that we’d still be a contender.

Instead we have an aging core with bloated contracts given to players for such mundane achievements as winning Stanley Cups and Conn Smythe trophies.

Now because we’ve been drafting in the bottom quarter of the draft for a decade, we don’t even have top 5 farm system...losers.

Nice going Stan & Q. Hopefully this is the last season we have to put up with your shenanigans.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Aug 29 @ 9:16 AM ET
One would hope at least one of these guys shows up with "Shaw-like" determination and pleasantly surprises everyone.
- 6628


He doesn't have that nastiness or grit per se... but he's got a real nose for the net and a great looking forecheck.

The line of Highmore-Kampf-Ejdsell was a good one for Ejdsell as Highmore and Kampf's high motors cause havoc in the neutral and o-zone to create turnovers. Then they would get the puck to Ejdsell.
Ogilthorpe2
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: 37,000 FT
Joined: 07.09.2009

Aug 29 @ 9:16 AM ET
Why wouldn't they be able to send him down? They did it to Franson last year.
- tvetter

Seems many people have no clue what a one way contract actually means.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Aug 29 @ 9:17 AM ET
Why wouldn't they be able to send him down? They did it to Franson last year.
- tvetter


Correct, they can and would send him down in a heartbeat if it made sense (if Davidson was signed and didn't fit into the equation or someone like Jokiharju lit it up in Rockford and needed to come up).
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Aug 29 @ 9:20 AM ET
Right? Because everyone knows that if we had a real coach (not some future hall of famer), and a real GM (not some papas boy accountant) that we’d still be a contender.

Instead we have an aging core with bloated contracts given to players for such mundane achievements as winning Stanley Cups and Conn Smythe trophies.

Now because we’ve been drafting in the bottom quarter of the draft for a decade, we don’t even have top 5 farm system...losers.

Nice going Stan & Q. Hopefully this is the last season we have to put up with your shenanigans.

- Ogilthorpe2



Nice job Ogi... I’m impressed with the level of sarcasm exhibited there!
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Aug 29 @ 9:21 AM ET
so if Ejdsell makes the team, do you think we could see a top 6 of:

Saad-Toews-ADB
Ejdsell-Schmaltz-Kane

and if Highmore makes it:

Saad-Toews-Sikura
ADB-Schmaltz-Kane?

- tvetter


You know what... I've played around with so many options of line combinations because the Hawks have holes and uncertainties on every line - forward and defence.

All I can say is that I was re-watching Highmore's game vs. Boston on March 10th last year (where he scored his first goal) and Q had a line of Debrincat-Schmaltz-Hayden out there and they looked great.

Schmaltz with his speed, the Cat with his threat on offence and Hayden played bodyguard. More than that actually... Hayden looked like a legitimate power forward in that game and even scored a nice goal off the rush (oh and had a fight).

I'm not advocating that as a line, I'm just saying, there are a lot of options.

So much so that I have another blog series coming up about interesting line combinations for L1, L2, L3 and L4.

Stay tuned for that.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Aug 29 @ 9:32 AM ET
Can you say lottery pick?
Hopefully they tank so bad Q and Bowman will be flushed and we get a high pick and maybe dump some of the core and really start a true rebuild.

- Hawkster


Personally, I don’t have high expectations for this season. That’s not to say I don’t believe in the core, the coaching staff or the GM. Sports are cyclical and the Hawks are on a downward swing. That’s not to say their window has closed, they’re just restocking the shelves. Over the past 10 years Stan did exactly what was needed. He locked up the right players and made aggressive moves to bolster the lineup. For the most part fans were happy with the overall decisions at the time. The downside to those moves is the lack of draft picks, drafting in a poor position when they do draft and a shallow prospect pool. Considering the Hawks farm team was just ranked 14th I think we have cause for optimism in the coming seasons. Not every season will be like 2013-2015, there will always be some regression and that’s what he Hawks are experiencing now. The key is not staying down too long. 16-17 was a good regular reason with a disasterous playoffs. 17-18 was a disappointing season. But take that into context, only one down season after a decade of success, three Stanley Cups while maintaining a decent prospect pool.

Is the team really that poorly run? Sure, mistakes were made along the way but the club made more good moves than bad. I get that the NHL is a results oriented business and the Blackhawks want to market a winner. But I think Stan and Q have earned the opportunity to turn this around and I think they will.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Aug 29 @ 9:35 AM ET
You know what... I've played around with so many options of line combinations because the Hawks have holes and uncertainties on every line - forward and defence.

All I can say is that I was re-watching Highmore's game vs. Boston on March 10th last year (where he scored his first goal) and Q had a line of Debrincat-Schmaltz-Hayden out there and they looked great.

Schmaltz with his speed, the Cat with his threat on offence and Hayden played bodyguard. More than that actually... Hayden looked like a legitimate power forward in that game and even scored a nice goal off the rush (oh and had a fight).

I'm not advocating that as a line, I'm just saying, there are a lot of options.

So much so that I have another blog series coming up about interesting line combinations for L1, L2, L3 and L4.

Stay tuned for that.

- Justin Lowe


Looking forward to the series on line combos. I find this year to be particularly challenging to guess the top 2 lines. If AA centres the 3rd line then 5 of the top 6 are likely set, but the combinations are still up in the air.

I still think the 3rd line will be the most interesting situation. AA can centre the line but his likely wingers don’t have a lot of NHL experience.
-Doh-
Location: VA
Joined: 10.05.2015

Aug 29 @ 10:10 AM ET
Justin

The Hawks have a lot of forwards that seem to have no designation as to which wing they play best. In the line combinations on this board you see the same players at LW, RW and sometimes C.

Could you or other posters list some of the younger Hawks with the wing you feel they are best suited for (if they are not playing center).
ADB
Sikura
Schmaltz
Hayden
Ejdsell
Kampf
Highmore
Kahun
Martinsen

Also I am interested in your opinion as to whether it hampers their development to get flip flopped from wing to wing or if it is a positive by giving them experience on both wings.
StLBravesFan
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 07.03.2011

Aug 29 @ 10:26 AM ET
Nice little piece you wrote up Justin. The PTO signing leads me to believe Stan doesn't have a clue how to run this team. All this hype of all these young promising defenseman and yet instead of truly going with a youth movement to allow whom I believe are ready and best suited to play and learn and contribute to their readiness, guys like Hillman Joki,, forsling , Stans going to bring in another defenseman whom can't be sent down should he make the team.



Also who is going to play top 6 ? Hayden I think will never evolve into a effective contributing player just a waste of cap money.



I get it you have to give up value to get a return and the hawks are not in that position , who then do you see actually filling that hole this year ? Sikura, edsel, Shaun?

- Taylorst1


Maybe there are still questions about how ready for the Show the likes of Jokiharju, Hillman, Forsling, etc. actually are - and maybe there is still consideration that most would benefit from another year in Rockfish.

And - how much of that is pressure from Rocky, McD, etc. to make the tournament and realize the $2MM+ per game revenues....
fattybeef
Joined: 05.04.2010

Aug 29 @ 10:34 AM ET
This year can look similar to 08-09 or even 11-12 (which I think Patrick Kane had more of a MVP year then when he won it even though it was his down one since he had to play first line center the last 19 games of the season and dragged them into a playoff spot pretty much by himself when Toews was out with brain pain).

Especially 11-12 with the revolving defender spots with Nick Leddy skating 82 games as a 20 year old and racking up 37 points. Jokiharju has to produce something similar. Not crazy when you look at what a player like Charlie McAvoy did last year for Boston. He'll probably get tossed around and make a bunch of brain farts but if more often then not he gets the puck going the other way quickly then it could be fun.

If the veterans return somewhat to their statistical norms (Toews and Saad especially and Seabrook has to show some signs of life) then its not unrealistic to think that a guy like Highmore can't step in and be that groups "Andrew Shaw" or "Marcus Kruger"or gasp "Michael Frolik" and I think they have enough talent with the kids to fill those role.

With the veterans they have and the quick guys who "play 200ft game" it may not be a great year but it could be a fun one and with Highmore's speed you'd think he would fit somewhere. Especially since he seems to fit that Q mold of "dude works hard so I play him on every line with every player".

And this is factoring in no or little Crawford.

I dunno, I'm just not as down on this year as everyone else seems to be.

breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Aug 29 @ 10:50 AM ET
Justin, I think you hit the nail on the head with Highmore. Especially the high motor and forecheck. I also noticed he really does well attacking on the rush because he can really get up and down the ice. He doesn't hesitate to put the puck toward the net or go to the net himself. I think he plays in the bottom 6.

The Davidson thing isn't too surprising but I'd have to think part of the reasoning is that he offers a level of insurance if someone is injured or not up to par in camp. Good to have some guys there on PTO to put a bit of motivation behind the other guys too.
Scott1977
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Yorkville, IL
Joined: 08.30.2012

Aug 29 @ 11:00 AM ET
I think Highmore like Kamp, excuse the spelling, are depth players can both develop into solid bottom 6 forwards yes but I think both start in Rockford and might get called up during the season if he is playing well. I like the pto signing of Davidson can not have to many d man plus with added him potentially could signal a trade to get help up front at center or wing. I would also like to see the hawks bring a center in on a pto.
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Aug 29 @ 11:05 AM ET
Looking forward to the series on line combos. I find this year to be particularly challenging to guess the top 2 lines. If AA centres the 3rd line then 5 of the top 6 are likely set, but the combinations are still up in the air.

I still think the 3rd line will be the most interesting situation. AA can centre the line but his likely wingers don’t have a lot of NHL experience.

- DarthKane


You'd need a crystal ball into Q's brain to guess I think. The uncertainty is in some ways nice because it means there are options that are viable. I'm hoping they start with something like

DeBrincat - Toews - Kane
Saad - Schmaltz - Sikura

I think Toews/Kane balance each other out well offensively/defensively and compliment each other. Debrincat could find some real opportunity finding soft areas to shoot from.

Second line has skill and speed to do some damage IMO. Not the line that will rattle bones like a bottom 6 group, but they can get up the ice on the rush and force defenders on their heels.

Q will probably change his lines in the last pre-season game or halfway through game 1 but it will be interesting to see what comes.
tvetter
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Burkesville, KY
Joined: 12.16.2015

Aug 29 @ 11:10 AM ET
You'd need a crystal ball into Q's brain to guess I think. The uncertainty is in some ways nice because it means there are options that are viable. I'm hoping they start with something like

DeBrincat - Toews - Kane
Saad - Schmaltz - Sikura

I think Toews/Kane balance each other out well offensively/defensively and compliment each other. Debrincat could find some real opportunity finding soft areas to shoot from.

Second line has skill and speed to do some damage IMO. Not the line that will rattle bones like a bottom 6 group, but they can get up the ice on the rush and force defenders on their heels.

Q will probably change his lines in the last pre-season game or halfway through game 1 but it will be interesting to see what comes.

- breadbag



I like those lines a lot. Only thing is will Schmaltz start shooting?
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