While we are talking about Blackhawks Depth (this title is a link).

I noticed something while perusing the Blackhawks website recently, the Depth Chart. A chart that showcases what looks to be your 2011-2012 roster line-up and line-combinations. Depth has been a topic of mucho discussion these past few weeks, as in: the Hawks have depth again, yay! So discussing it makes a lot of sense.

However, when I noticed the chart, my first reaction was one of a critical perspective. I am frankly a bit uncomfortable about what appears to be the build up of lines and where certain people appear. Not to mention the appearance of (no offense, Im sure your a great guy) John Scott. I would much rather see a guy like Hendry's name there who has been asked to skate with the Wild during their training camp.

Speaking of training camp, it is right around the corner and the proceedings of that camp might very well make my concerns mute and a waste of energy, but I continue on anyway.

Concern #1: Sharp is placed in a center role. We knew this was coming, but it still hurts and it means less goal production causing a soon to be highly payed player playing in a position he himself has mentioned is not comfortable in. Im also not too happy about his pairing with Hossa. Things seemed to role much smoother when Sharp was with his buddy Kane as opposed to Hossa who he never seemed to gel with offensively.

This, along with Stalberg's name (2nd concern) on the left wing create a very uncertain 2nd line. Not what the newly acquired depth would wishfully lead to. Although I do like the thought of giving Stalberg a chance to show what he has, I am just expecting less fireworks when it is on a line that already reads shaky to me.

I would again like to make the suggestion of trying a Hossa/Bolland combo even though I feel pretty good about the way our 3rd line looks at the moment. Im also going to make the leap at suggesting a go of Olesz with Hossa to see if a bond could be forged there.

Even with concerns, the faces in the forward list bring a smile to my face. Brunette filling in at the top line could be a great thing. The depth is obviously apparent, but is it the right depth?

Defensively, the only shock was to see Leddy in the 5-6 spot. As pointed out on this blog more than a few times, Leddy's development is of much importance moving forward. Will he get the ice-time necessary to grow with such little minutes to build on?

Check it out, let the info sink in, and then tell me what you think about this nice little chart. I am only thinking out loud really, which is usually just a leap for some conversation.

Comments

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  • Very interesting. Just someone's opinion I expect. I, too, am shocked to see Stalberg up on the second line and Kruger listed as a depth center while Sharp is pencilled in as a center. Given Qs propensity for mixing things up, I'm not putting too much stock into this forecast.

    I think Montador may settle in as a 3-4 d man so I'm good there and where else is Leddy going to go but as a 5-6 guy? They'll continue to bring him along slowly. Because the D has more depth this year the minutes will be more evenly spread, I think. O'Donnell and Lepisto will rotate in and out.

    Overall, I like the look of the line-up but its way too early to speculate on the line combinations. One training camp setback and everything changes again.

  • Smith and Leddy on lower lines with reduced ice time is not something I am in favor of, but I've bitched enough about that already. FF's point is well taken, Leddy may still play his way up to Campbell's old spot and/or Q might spread the minutes better then he did last year. Between Smith and Stalberg, I could see Smith actually being capable of being an energy line type player. I like some of Stalberg's skills, but unlike Kane, he's a bigger body and he's either gotta stop taking shit from other teams or one of his teammates has to step up for him. He's not someone I believe deals with line shuffling very well.

    Until something better comes along, I'm good with Sharp at center. I like him on wing too, but I think he's better defensively when he plays center. Putting all money issues aside, I became intrigued this summer with the idea of moving Hossa to the third line. With his salary he SHOULD be top six. But, his stay on second line is decidedly mixed. With Bolland's approach to the game and Bickell's size, I think that could be a devastating third line while also giving Q a chance to try out multiple players on the second. Ultimately, I see Hossa there next year anyway.

    For Stals, I think it's a make or break year and I hate to say I'm not overly optimistic right now. I like Smith, I like Morin and I'm curious to see what Olesz can do. With Carcillo and Mayers on the fourth, I just don't see Stals fitting well with them. Flip flopping Frolik and Hossa is something I would like to see just to see what would happen. Frolik may not be a scoring threat, but I don't think he's really a solid checking line guy. I dunno, with a move like that, I could see 1,3 and 4 looking real solid and giving Q some flexibility to take risks with the 2nd. Still, going back to FF's point, line pairings are open for speculation all season long.

  • HH & All,

    I wouldn't put much stock in lines put forth on the Hawks homepage. Exactly how long did any line stay together in the past while the Q was behind the bench? Only things that are etched in stone in my opinion are that Toews is that 1st line center and Bollard is the 3rd line center. Everything else is very fluid...

    BW

  • Exactly my point Beaver, I want to see lines have some consistency this year.
    I would also like a shift from thinking of the lines as 1,2, or 3. If the 3rd line is as that chart shows, I would expect to see them getting lots of ice against other team's top lines. What then does that make them in the rotation?
    Use each player as efficiently as possible in roles they can succeed in, dividing ice-time more evenly and effectively regardless of who is on the top line, or 3rd line.
    There are options here, but I think a hard look during training camp should provide the answers and then stick to that game-plan. No switching around out of the gate this time.

  • Swap Carcillo and Stalberg. You know it is going to happen one night.

    Scott as 8th D is scary. Prayers are needed to prevent Kieth from winning Most Overworked Defenseman. The minutes have to be spread out.

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