Skille has earned more and better ice time

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. 

 

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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.    

 

 

 

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  • Skille plays hard, but I would take umbrage with the notion that Skille is a scorer. He's a third-liner at best. He rarely passes the puck and doesn't have finishing skills. Whereas Versteeg has tremendous hands and puck-handling abilities, Skille lacks in both areas. I wouldn't mind him getting a shot with Bolland on a third line, perhaps with Stalberg on the other wing. And while Brouwer's gotten off to a slow start, he has the shot to compliment a good passer which is why he worked well with Kane last year. Kopecky, on the other hand, is a bit of a bumbling goof near the puck. He's a really good back-checker though, so I'd put him on the 4th line.

    All these lines are going to look incomplete until Jeremy Morin settles in as a top-2 line winger.

  • I like Skille's speed and tenacity, but I would agree that he appears to lack the finishing ability at this point. Let's leave him on the 4th line for now, you gotta love the speed that line has and it creates match up problems for the opponent's second tier defense. Even if they don't score they can change the momentum of the game.

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