- AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
The Blackhawks made no scret of what they planned to do when free agnecy opened up last week. They wanted to add more depth and they wanted to add more grit.
That much they achieved. By adding depth guys like Jamal Mayers and Sean O’Donnell, teams will have a much tougher time not only trying to score on the Hawks, but trying to push them around as well.
Most of the disucssion about the Hawks’ moves has revolved around that “gritty” aspect, as well as the controversial addition of former Philadelphia knucklehead, Daniel Carcillo.
Andrew Brunette has not only been one of the more under-the-radar signings for the Blackhawks, but in the NHL as a whole. At 37-years-old, there were questions of whether or not he would return for another season. Those were answered when Brunette and the Hawks agreed to a one-year deal.
Wherever he has been in his years in the NHL, Brunette has been a fan favorite. Whether it was in one of his two stints in Minnesota, Colorado, or one of the three teams he played with way back before 2001, fans have loved him. And after another disappointing season for the Minnesota Wild, Brunette will now look to another fanbase to enjoy his presence, in what might be his last real chance at a Stanley Cup.
A guy who has been lauded as a great clubhouse guy and a strong leader, Brunette has also been as steady as they come statistically, something that was absent among Blackhawks role players last year. As was the willingness to go to the net to make plays, which Brunette does as well. He ranked third on the Wild with 46 points last year.
He’s also been a figure of consistency as far as his health goes. He’s missed just three games total since the first time he joined Minnesota, back in the 2001-02 season. This will also be Brunette’s second time playing for Joel Quenneville, having played for him back when the two were in Colorado.
Brunette should fit right in with a Blackhawks team in need of some secondary scoring. They might not have found a center for that second line, yet, but have found a top six forward nonetheless.
As of right now, it wouldn’t be strange to see a line that included Brunette, Dave Bolland, and Marian Hossa on that no. 2 unit when the team opens their season up in October. Bolland figures to center that second line, at least for now, and Brunette could be the perfect compliment for a line that can score, as long as Hossa is healthy.
We all know how Quenneville likes to shuffle lines, so Brunette probably won’t be a staple on line no. 2, quite like Hossa will. But no matter where he plays with this Hawks team, he should prove to be an asset. Playing with this team, Brunette could easily be in for 20 goals, and if he plays with the bottom six, as he likely will with Q at the helm, he should provide scoring and consistency on those lines, as the Blackhawks look to get back to the promised land.