It’s not often in the NHL that you see a player get rewarded after the way Daniel Carcillo ended his season. After receiving a seven game suspension for his hit on Tom Gilbert and tearing his ACL on the play, Carcillo was handed a new two-year contract before the season was even over.
The reaction to that contract was quite similar to the one when the Chicago Blackhawks initially signed Carcillo last summer. Though as odd as it was to see him in Chicago, it was even more puzzling to see him get a new contract after the way the season ended.
It’s not that signing Carcillo makes this team worse. He was a surprisingly pleasant addition for the most part, contributing on all four lines, even finding success with Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa on the second line for a spell. He’s a gritty player, but has skill, and was a very good presence in the locker room this season.
Aside from the fact that he’s Dan Carcillo and prone to incredibly stupid penalties, the emergence of Andrew Shaw, a similar player with more offensive skill, was expected to make Carcillo expendable. But the front office wasn’t shy about how much they liked Carcillo throughout the year, which was proven with that new contract.
Though there are still needs for the Blackhawks on the forward lines, particularly in the top six, but as things stand right now, there is a bit of a logjam up front for the Hawks, mainly the bottom six. Carcillo is here for good, so now the question turns to the type of role he is expected to play.
If the Hawks plan to play Carcillo exclusively in a top six role, then the move is likely to blow up in their faces. Stan Bowman is very high on him and given his delusions about Patrick Kane being the second line center of the future, I do have concerns that he sees Carcillo in that top six role next season.
Until the Hawks make whatever moves they are going to make this summer as far as the forwards are concerned, we can’t really project where Carcillo would play. We can say where he should play. And it’s not on the second line.
Carcillo belongs in the bottom six. For a goon, he has plenty of skill, but it’s not enough to keep him up on the second line on a permanent basis. Sure, he can look good next to the Hawks’ skill players for a short amount of time depending on the matchup, but he doesn’t have the game to keep up with them on every shift.
We don’t even know if Carcillo will be in the lineup on an every night basis. The Hawks already have Shaw and have signed Jamal Mayers to a new contract as well. Mayers is more likely to be a scratch more often than not, but the amount of forwards they have, particularly the ones who play a similar type of game as Carcillo, do raise questions about where he actually fits on this team heading into next season.