One of these days, Daniel Carcillo is going to return to the Chicago Blackhawks. But where he will fit in with the league’s top club (10-0-3), remains a mystery.
Carcillo began the season on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa before he went down with a knee injury, courtesy of Drew Doughty. He hasn’t played since sustaining that injury in the season opener.
Instead, Brandon Saad has been running the show on the left side of that top line. And it doesn’t look like he plans on relinquishing that role any time soon. He’s been fantastic in 12 games up there, regardless of what the limited amount of goals (just two) may indicate.
Which means that even if Carcillo does make it back into the lineup when he returns, it probably won’t be on the top line. And that would be the right decision. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And while we’re not fixing things, the Hawks probably shouldn’t put Carcillo anywhere in the top nine.
The second unit of Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp has been solid offensively and even if it wasn’t, it’s not like Sharp or Kane is getting demoted to the third line. The strange combination on the third line has also been a pretty decent success. Which leaves just one place for Carcillo: the fourth line.
Yes, a novel concept. A fourth line player (Carcillo) logging minutes on the fourth line. Carcillo would likely replace the rotation of Brandon Bollig and Jamal Mayers. Which means that the Hawks wouldn’t lose any toughness, but they’d add a bit more skill than either Bollig or Mayers bring to the lineup.
When he does return, the Hawks shouldn’t have an issue putting Carcillo back into the lineup. There is only one real spot to put him, though. Don’t mess with what’s going on in the top nine, put him on the bottom line and add him to a unit that has a strong forecheck and plays well defensively. Could suit him well.