In his short time with the Chicago Blackhawks, Daniel Carcillo has managed to become a pretty polarizing figure.
Some folks love Carcillo for what he brings to the ice. He’s a physical presence, adds that sandpaper, and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and defend his teammates. Despite his status as an enforcer, he actually brings a pretty decent game to the ice, in comparison to other brutes in the league.
Others feel that Carcillo’s edgy style of play often crosses the line, and they were proven right when Carcillo landed an incredibly stupid hit on Tom Gilbert, that also ended Carcillo’s season when he suffered a torn ACL. The Hawks prolonged putting him on injured reserve until his indefinite suspension came to an end.
Carcillo heads into the new season in the first year of the two-year contract extension that he signed last year. Signing the contract after he was injured was all the more puzzling on the end of the Blackhawks, who were witnessing the emergence of Andrew Shaw at about the same time they extended him.
Regardless, Carcillo is here to stay and now it’s time to decide how to utilize him. On most teams, Carcillo is a third or fourth line guy max. Third may be giving him too much credit. Is he skilled for a guy labeled as a goon? Absolutely, but nowhere near the credit the Hawks give him.
Carcillo saw time up with the second line, next to Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa last season. The reviews weren’t terrible, but it was also a very small sample space that they were working with. There’s a very good chance that we could see him up in the top six when the season begins in less than two weeks.
Four of the Hawks’ top six forwards are set: Kane, Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp. Toews and Kane could end up as the centers for the two lines, and we could very well see Carcillo as one of the wings, either opposite Hossa on a Kane line, or opposite Kane on the top line if Kane ends up on the wing.
However the Hawks plan to utilize Dan Carcillo this season, he’s going to be a key piece of whatever they hope to accomplish, whether fans agree or disagree with it. He appears to be a great guy to have in the locker room and you could do worse than him in your lineup. Though I do question him playing such a crucial role in the offensive end, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.