When Jack Skille made the Blackhawks opening night roster, it had to be a relief. After being drafted 7th overall in 2005, he hadn't been able to break the lineup. This season, he's been the star of the Hawks 4th line, and is making a case for more important ice time.
In his limited ice time (about 9:00 a game), he's made a lot of things happen. In 7 games, Skille has two assists, and has put 18 shots on goal, tied with Tomas Kopecky and behind only Patrick Sharp (32) and Marian Hossa (23). He shows energy on every shift and has 14 hits. He's been willing to do whatever it takes to get on the ice, including taking a pay cut this offseason.
With that in mind, it's time for a promotion. The kid is a scorer. No, he hasn't scored consistently at the NHL level, but he hasn't played on lines that allow him to score.
Skille's skill set should have him on one of the top two lines. Problem is, both of those lines are working. So where does he fit? It's time to put him on the powerplay. Bryan Bickell and Troy Brouwer get power play time because they are willing to go into corners and dig out the puck for more offensively skilled players. Skille shows that willingness every shift, and in my opinion, is better offensively than either Brouwer or Bickell.
To me, Skille is the replacement for Kris Versteeg. It's time for him to be put in "Versteeg-esque" situations. The good news for Skille is that Joel Quenneville has shown willingness to award hard work and consistency. If he keeps playing like this, it's only a matter of time until he gets his chance.