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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Saad As Center? Possibly... Possibly NOT (Plus Revised Scenarios)

The Blackhawks have explored the option of putting Brandon Saad at center for the 2013-14 season.

Joel Quenneville said, " He is probably the guy we're thinking maybe [can] grab that spot,  [it] would be an option," Coach Q went on to say,"It's something we talked about as a staff late in the year. It's something going into the season we could be exploring."

So, let's look at a few scenario's with Saad at center.

FIRST LINE:                       Bickell     -       Toews    -    Kane

SECOND LINE:                 Sharp       -       Saad       -    Hossa

THIRD LINE:                    Morin/Kruger   -  Handzus   -   Shaw

FOURTH LINE:              Danault/Bollig/Smith  -    Pirri   -    Kruger/Hayes

That is 15 forwards..... One of them doesn't make it. 14F + 7D +2G= Team limit 23.

Here is another Scenario:



NOT A LONG SHOT: BOLLIG (Probably would replace Danault or Smith).

A possibility the Hawks may consider is carrying 13 forwards and 8 defenseman. If that's the case, I believe that Ryan Stanton, (newly signed) Michael Kostka and Adam Clendening are the only three options.

Drew LeBlanc helped himself to make this team by signing a two year contract for only $575,000/2yr. contract. He didn't go for the gusto.  Kyle Beach did the same with a 1 year $550,000 contract. He could surprise everyone and replace Brandon Bollig. Watch out there folks!!!!!. He's what they look for in a 4th line player. He's gritty, he scores...don't be surprised.

Let's look at who is trying to make the team with their cap hit.

1)  C     : Mark McNeill:          $1,113,333/3yrs remaining
2)  C     : Phillip Danault:         $   963,000/3yrs remaining
3)  C     : Brandon Pirri            $  870,000/1 yr remaining
4)  C     : Drew LeBlanc          $  575,000/1 yr remaining

5) LW:   Jeremy Morin            $  886,667/ 1 yr remaining
6) RW  : Jimmy Hayes            $  875,000/1 yr remaining
7) LW  : Garret Ross               $  636,667/ 3 yrs remaining
8) LW  : Brandon Bollig         $  575,000/1 yr remaining
9)  C/RW : Ben Smith             $  562,000/ 1 yr remaining
10) LW   : Kyle Beach            $  550,000/1 yr remaining

11) D      : Adam Clendening  $ 925,000/3 yrs remaining
12) D      : Ryan Stanton         $  550,000/2 yrs remaining

If this was my team , this is how I would set up the lines to fit the cap.

FIRST LINE:          Bickell,  Toews,  Kane
SECOND LINE:    Sharp,  Handzus,  Hossa
THIRD LINE:        Saad, Pirri, Shaw
FOURTH LINE:   Morin,  Kruger, Hayes
Alternates: Brandon Bollig, Ryan Stanton

Same 7 defensemen
Same 2 goaltenders

Bollig would be my pawn....Smith, Beach, LeBlanc  NEED the playing time....Bollig doesn't. Handzus at his age will need rest.  Rozsival ALSO needs rest, and if Brookbank can't handle it, then Stanton jumps right in.

 Back to re-slotting the center position if Handzus rests: Pirri jumps into that #2 center spot, and Kruger moves up to #3,...Danault gets his shot..., but not right away. He NEEDS the playing time in Rockford. Bollig would be a yo-yo to go back-and-forth while the rookies got playing time,...and if I needed someone,.....bamm!!.....Bollig takes the bus back to Rockford (or plane,...hehehehehe) and the rookie comes up to play his game or two.

I think Beach, Smith, LeBlanc, Bollig and Danault fight for that last spot.

If LeBlanc makes the team,.....Kruger moves to wing.

If Kyle Beach makes the team,...he'll be on a short leash with Brandon Bollig ready to jump at a minutes notice. Only reason that they'd give Beach a shot is he was their first round  (overall #11) a few years back (2008).

If Danault Makes the team,...He'll move to LW,...and I think that would mean Morin or Smith go back to Rockford.

If McNeill makes the team,...Danault doesn't and vice versa.

If Hayes doesn't make the team, then Ben Smith makes it (not necessarily vice versa.)

My Guess is that Bollig, Beach, LeBlanc, Smith AND Ryan Stanton... all with very low contracts will flip flop from Rockford to the Hawks dependent upon who is hurt, and who is HOT. If KYLE BEACH starts off in Rockford and gets hot,...and Bollig is on the Hawks,....then Beach will come up and Bollig will be sent back to Rockford.

Therefore my long-shots to make the team are: Ross, McNeill and Clendening.

I think there is going to be a lot of dancing, back and forth between Rockford and the Hawks for many of the players,...especially if they don't produce. The Hawks have that luxury right now to do that. So, to prevent that,...these young guys are going to have to come in EXTREMELY HUNGRY to not allow Coach Q and Stan to yo-yo them back and forth between the Ice Hogs and the Hawks.

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