Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 
Forums :: Blog World :: Justin Lowe: The Week That Shaped a Team
Author Message
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Sep 24 @ 8:02 AM ET
Justin Lowe: The Week That Shaped a Team With three preseason games left, the Hawks roster will start to take form by this weekend.

The roster sits at 33 with players still vying for openings at every single position.

This is the first year in as long as I can remember that the Hawks have this much uncertainty across their entire roster.
dahawks8819
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 10.29.2014

Sep 24 @ 8:12 AM ET
First
hockey nut 28
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Kansas City
Joined: 11.01.2006

Sep 24 @ 8:30 AM ET
1B
Beaver-Warrior
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: A new era of Blackhawks hockey
Joined: 07.28.2011

Sep 24 @ 8:30 AM ET
Ah! the first purge after winning the cup. Those were great times watching and discussing the legendary Ben Smith.
pdx2ord
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 09.02.2015

Sep 24 @ 8:38 AM ET
Great post - very interesting tidbit about the face-offs for Schmaltz and Anisimov. On Saad, what do you think is behind sending a message (if that's what is happening) so soon after he seemingly put the work in this summer?

Profile on Kane's offseason this year. What a work ethic. For him to lose 10-12 lbs is big.

https://theathletic.com/5...r-than-hes-been-in-years/
John Jaeckel
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: www.the-rink.com
Joined: 11.19.2006

Sep 24 @ 8:38 AM ET
Seems like these lines are temporary.

Q trying to send a message to guys like Hayden, Sikura, possibly Saad and Schmaltz. Although Kahun definitely and Johnson somewhat have made a case for themselves.

Q's strong side FO rationale makes sense theoretically. Now it has to be proven in reality. If it can get that "line" to 50% on draws or close to it, meh, OK.

Kahun's speed and 360 degree mobility is differentiating. Looks like he can make plays too.
Taylorst1
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 07.09.2018

Sep 24 @ 8:56 AM ET
Great observation and well summed up Justin. However coach Q never truly settles on a consistent line up , he is constantly changing them. I agree Hayden and sikura have not shown any reason to have a spot . Sikura , I believe will be more like schmaltz some great flashes but inconsistency and needs more time in Rockford to develop.


Why would Keith and Seabrook be paired up ? Both are aging and I feel either Johki or boyquist would be bettered suited playing along side them.

Final thoughts are the hawks considering giving Davidson a 1 year contract?
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Sep 24 @ 8:59 AM ET
Good write-up. I feel like Saad is being given an incentive to play better, or just a temporary thing for him to play against weaker/bottom pairing d to regain that scoring touch.
Wherever Schmaltz is is fine with me. Sure I don't like his fo numbers and I wish they would improve, but he has found a lot of success playing wing.
I really like Kampf and Johnson's games. I think Hayden just needs to beat out Martinsen and Sikura has to beat out Kahun if they want to make the team. Those four, if taken as pairs, play similar games and have to prove that one is better than the other.
I don't know how I feel about the d pairings. I think Davidson earned a spot. We are spread thin after the first 2 spots have been solidified. There were too many d prospects that I wanted to get another look at. I'll just add Noel because I was unhappy about him being sent down.
weakglovehand
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: under-q's-stash, IL
Joined: 02.27.2007

Sep 24 @ 9:20 AM ET
Great write up Justin

Good to see Crow improving. If Forsberg or Ward can hold the net til Christmas and keep the Hawks in most games, there would be no reason to rush him back til after the all star break. Those are 2 big if's, but here is an excellent opportunity for Forsberg to show the Hawks and the NHL that he is a legit starter.

I'd expect the "line blender" to be on full early and often, as this team probably never really settles, because goals are going to come at a premium. A rookie infused defense will pressure on the PP as boy wonders Jokihuru and Boyquist can both fly and shoot, but keep the puck out of the net? Manning had a bad game vs OTT so need to have him bounce back. Seabs and Keith will see lots of minutes early as half of the D-core is new.
Saad is a Q guy, so don't expect to see him on the bottom 6 for long.
#2 C by committee may be a plan and fun to watch. Hopefully it masks a hole. Who plays on the 1st line with #19 will be a season long tryout. Toews drop off is a line killer, and in the preseason game I watched, he seems unchanged from the last 2 years. SO the Hawks have a #3C playing #1C and #2C by committee. Not good.
67hawks
Joined: 08.30.2012

Sep 24 @ 9:21 AM ET
Great observation and well summed up Justin. However coach Q never truly settles on a consistent line up , he is constantly changing them. I agree Hayden and sikura have not shown any reason to have a spot . Sikura , I believe will be more like schmaltz some great flashes but inconsistency and needs more time in Rockford to develop.


Why would Keith and Seabrook be paired up ? Both are aging and I feel either Johki or boyquist would be bettered suited playing along side them.

Final thoughts are the hawks considering giving Davidson a 1 year contract?

- Taylorst1


To me Hayden has been okay (especially in the last game) but Sikura somewhat disappointing.
And, yes, if you are going to start limiting the ice times for Keith and Seabrook, the best way to do that is to pair them.
L_B_R
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 02.23.2014

Sep 24 @ 9:33 AM ET
Interesting article in the Athletic about Kane's training this summer which he switched up some. Mentioned that he came in to camp lighter this year at 172, didn't touch weights much at all, was focused on speed/agility over strength. His regime sounds intense though, working every day, starting at dawn and often staying late.
phantasmo
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 01.13.2016

Sep 24 @ 9:35 AM ET
I know the hands/hockey sense with D Sikura are high, but I don't think he makes any sense on this roster. How many undersized guys or sub-physical guys without lightning speed can make this roster AND have a "see-puck, go-get-puck" mentality?

DeBrincat
Schmaltz
Sikura


These guys will get knocked off the puck and never get it back. Lots of perimeter hockey in the Hawks future with all of these guys in the lineup and on every line
bogiedoc
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: VA
Joined: 09.27.2011

Sep 24 @ 9:42 AM ET
same ole issue...problems with the top 6 and trying to make an undrafted free agent fit there; a loaded bottom 6 of young guys with the obligatory "old guy" kunitz.

its been Q roulette with the top 6 for the last 3 years; no different this year...

I have lost count with the number of guys who have been matched with toews over the last 3 years...most of them GONE!

paulr
Chicago Blackhawks
Location:
Joined: 06.26.2011

Sep 24 @ 10:03 AM ET
I know the hands/hockey sense with D Sikura are high, but I don't think he makes any sense on this roster. How many undersized guys or sub-physical guys without lightning speed can make this roster AND have a "see-puck, go-get-puck" mentality?

DeBrincat
Schmaltz
Sikura


These guys will get knocked off the puck and never get it back. Lots of perimeter hockey in the Hawks future with all of these guys in the lineup and on every line

- phantasmo


I agree 100%! And to top it off Kane goes out and loses weight. The Hawks don't need anymore skill and speed, they need redass. Skill for show, redass for dough.
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Sep 24 @ 10:03 AM ET
I agree the lines are not set as they are still giving players a chance to prove what they can do in certain roles. Guys like Martinsen, Johnson, Kunitz are not locks to play every night in the top 12 at forward and even Kahun, while he is getting the shot in the top 6 could quickly find himself as a 13th forward. Not predicting it will happen, but he hasn't seen real NHL action yet.

I think Hayden will be a regular to start, unless he falls flat. He has been protecting the puck, he has lead all Hawks forwards in shots and scoring chances in the pre-season and he can play physical, something the Hawks are lacking. I could see a line of Saad - Toews - Hayden happening at some point if the Hawks shuffle.

Keith/Seabrook will likely play a lot together this year. They played a lot together last year. Rutta might play himself into Keith's pair and they could move Seabrook to play with Gus, but #2 and #7 haven't hit the ice in the preseason yet. I do think Seabrook will bounce back to a degree, just based on the him working his ass off to get ready for this year. He will probably never be at his best again, but he knows his dzone positioning. (unlike Oesterle who played with Keith when Seabrook didn't)

The D situation is really interesting this season. We've got impressive prospects who are skilled but very young. We've got injuries creating holes. We've got vets trying to prove they deserve to be more than 5-7th types. Only a few preseason games, but Gustafsson has been pretty damn good. Not afraid to jump in or send shots towards the goal. My "assumption" base on the practice lines is that the D to start may simply be like this.

Keith - Seabrook
Gustafsson - Rutta
Davidson - Jokiharju
Manning

Rutta should be more consistent here in his second NHL season. I think if this is the case, Keith/Seabrook/Davidson/Rutta fill out the PK units. Just for fun, I'm gonna guess these as the PK forward units.... Kruger/Kampf - Saad/Toews - Schmaltz/AA - Johnson/Hayden.
kaptaan
Vancouver Canucks
Joined: 09.29.2010

Sep 24 @ 11:14 AM ET
In the preseason I don't think anything of this. If it was regular season... Diff story
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Sep 24 @ 11:18 AM ET
I agree 100%! And to top it off Kane goes out and loses weight. The Hawks don't need anymore skill and speed, they need redass. Skill for show, redass for dough.
- paulr


Return of the Roar
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Solidly grounded in reality, IL
Joined: 07.27.2009

Sep 24 @ 11:29 AM ET
So Q has seen the light, and Schmaltz is at wing - where he belongs.

Saad will be forced to see the light by being demoted (Familiar? Remember Torts' treatment of Saad with CBJ?)

Toews, AA, Kampf and Kruger not a bad set of centers to me - best they have IMO anyway.

However, when you look - OBJECTIVELY - at the "top six" forwards on this team, and to the point of other posters, there is just not enough sandpaper, and the team appears to be doubling down on skill and speed as the only requirements for those positions.

Yes, speed can kill - if you have the fastest guys on the ice every night. But they aren't, and I still see a group of forwards who will be relegated to the perimeter, unable to sustain zone and board pressure, and lack the ability to get into the low slot where the dirty goals that really win games are scored from.

Defense is still a pre-season of auditioning, so we will see what Q decides on for game one against the Leafs.

One thing is for sure though - they will not have to try to tank.
scottak
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Palatine, IL
Joined: 08.06.2010

Sep 24 @ 11:58 AM ET
So Q has seen the light, and Schmaltz is at wing - where he belongs.

Saad will be forced to see the light by being demoted (Familiar? Remember Torts' treatment of Saad with CBJ?)

Toews, AA, Kampf and Kruger not a bad set of centers to me - best they have IMO anyway.

However, when you look - OBJECTIVELY - at the "top six" forwards on this team, and to the point of other posters, there is just not enough sandpaper, and the team appears to be doubling down on skill and speed as the only requirements for those positions.

Yes, speed can kill - if you have the fastest guys on the ice every night. But they aren't, and I still see a group of forwards who will be relegated to the perimeter, unable to sustain zone and board pressure, and lack the ability to get into the low slot where the dirty goals that really win games are scored from.

Defense is still a pre-season of auditioning, so we will see what Q decides on for game one against the Leafs.

One thing is for sure though - they will not have to try to tank.

- Return of the Roar

Game #1 is October 4th in Ottawa
bhawks2241
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 09.17.2013

Sep 24 @ 1:19 PM ET
I'd be shocked if Martinesen made the roster over Hayden. I would think Hayden is a better player with higher upside even in a 4th line roll.

The Saad demotion is worrisome. Didn't he have some issues in Columbus too regarding bringing it night in and night out? Perhaps Saad is not the player we all think he is... playing with 2 two-way HOF who worked their asses off on every shift may have inflated his value.
L_B_R
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 02.23.2014

Sep 24 @ 1:22 PM ET
I'd be shocked if Martinesen made the roster over Hayden. I would think Hayden is a better player with higher upside even in a 4th line roll.

The Saad demotion is worrisome. Didn't he have some issues in Columbus too regarding bringing it night in and night out? Perhaps Saad is not the player we all think he is... playing with 2 two-way HOF who worked their asses off on every shift may have inflated his value.

- bhawks2241

It looks more like Q is spreading out his vets, just like he did when he has Sharp on the 3rd line in 2015 and Hossa on the 3rd line in 2016 despite them both getting top 6 minutes. Saad was on the 3rd line for most of 2014 as well, though again, top 6 minutes (and primarily played with Shaw-Kane).
Hawks_For_Life
Joined: 02.09.2011

Sep 24 @ 1:23 PM ET
I know the hands/hockey sense with D Sikura are high, but I don't think he makes any sense on this roster. How many undersized guys or sub-physical guys without lightning speed can make this roster AND have a "see-puck, go-get-puck" mentality?

DeBrincat
Schmaltz
Sikura


These guys will get knocked off the puck and never get it back. Lots of perimeter hockey in the Hawks future with all of these guys in the lineup and on every line


I don't view Debrincat as a perimeter player. He went to the net. Before we cast off Sikura lets have a look and see what he can do if he makes the team.
Hawks_For_Life
Joined: 02.09.2011

Sep 24 @ 1:28 PM ET
I'd be shocked if Martinesen made the roster over Hayden. I would think Hayden is a better player with higher upside even in a 4th line roll.

The Saad demotion is worrisome. Didn't he have some issues in Columbus too regarding bringing it night in and night out? Perhaps Saad is not the player we all think he is... playing with 2 two-way HOF who worked their asses off on every shift may have inflated his value.

- bhawks2241


Saad played well in Columbus. I did not hear anything about why he was moved to the third line. My best guess is Coach Q was just mixing guys around to have a look. I don't think he was put there for performance reasons. I like having him on the third line if they can put the right mix of players there. Having 3 scoring lines is harder to match up against.
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Sep 24 @ 1:36 PM ET
I don't view Debrincat as a perimeter player. He went to the net. Before we cast off Sikura lets have a look and see what he can do if he makes the team.
- Hawks_For_Life


Yeah, he isn't really a perimeter player in my books either. While he isn't big, he did battle, I think he was also a threat to score from anywhere, which is why he was the team goal scoring leader.

For reference this is where he took shots from last year, which was basically all over the ice. 5v5.



Schmaltz


Saad


Kane


Toews

Hawks_For_Life
Joined: 02.09.2011

Sep 24 @ 1:44 PM ET
So Q has seen the light, and Schmaltz is at wing - where he belongs.

Saad will be forced to see the light by being demoted (Familiar? Remember Torts' treatment of Saad with CBJ?)

Toews, AA, Kampf and Kruger not a bad set of centers to me - best they have IMO anyway.

However, when you look - OBJECTIVELY - at the "top six" forwards on this team, and to the point of other posters, there is just not enough sandpaper, and the team appears to be doubling down on skill and speed as the only requirements for those positions.

Yes, speed can kill - if you have the fastest guys on the ice every night. But they aren't, and I still see a group of forwards who will be relegated to the perimeter, unable to sustain zone and board pressure, and lack the ability to get into the low slot where the dirty goals that really win games are scored from.

Defense is still a pre-season of auditioning, so we will see what Q decides on for game one against the Leafs.

One thing is for sure though - they will not have to try to tank.

- Return of the Roar


How many players fit that role of providing sandpaper in the top 6 when we won the last 2 cups?

I was trying to find out the lineups they started with for the cup finals.
Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15  Next