Even with the success of the Chicago Blackhawks so far in 2013, the issues on their roster haven’t magically disappeared. While some actually have (defense, goaltending), there is still a glaring need on this team for a no. 2 center.
The need for a center for that no. 2 unit is nothing new. The Hawks have needed someone to hold down that unit for the last few years. Yet, they haven’t actually explored upgrading the position. At least we’re not aware of any search. To this point, they’ve always tried to fill that spot internally.
This season has featured Dave Bolland as the no. 2 guy in the middle. He actually hasn’t been terrible. He’s probably better than any other alternative they could add there. But it’s easy to look good when you have a Hart Trophy candidate on one side of you (Patrick Kane) and Patrick Sharp on the other.
It’s not necessarily that Bolland doesn’t have the offensive chops to succeed with the second line. He’s a serviceable offensive player, even if his game has been predicated around defense for the last several years. But he absolutely destroys this line with his inability to win faceoffs.
That lack of success in the draw is kind of an epidemic that has plagued everyone on this roster not named Jonathan Toews. But regarding Bolland, that fact alone illustrates why he shouldn’t be on the second line for the long haul. Sure Kane has had great success playing with him this year, but that has more to do with Patrick Kane than it does with Dave Bolland.
That’s not to say you need to go out and get him an All Star and someone who is absolutely going to destroy the salary cap. They simply need someone who can win draws and setup his teammates on either side of him.
The Blackhawks may be an active team around the trade deadline, or they may look to other options to try and fill that gap (Brandon Pirri). No matter what they plan to do, though, the need for someone on that second line is getting more and more apparent each game.