Blackhawks

Patrick Kane back with second line as Blackhawks prep for Sharks

Patrick Kane back with second line as Blackhawks prep for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane top-line experiment is over and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the San Jose Sharks tonight at SAP Center.

Marian Hossa was back on the top line and Vinnie Hinostroza gets another shot at that left-wing position. Meanwhile Kane was reunited with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, reforming the line that was do explosive for the Blackhawks last season.

Toews and Kane have had their magic in the past but it just wasn’t working this time. Perhaps putting Toews back with the red-hot Hossa will get Toews’ game going again.

“I think you look at the way Hoss has been playing, he’s been so strong on the puck, keeping plays alive. I think for myself if I wanted to get more chances and create more offense I’ve got to do much of the same,” Toews said. “I have to be harder on the puck. I think in some situations where I make contact, I’m just giving up possession a little too easy so regardless of who I’m playing with, my personal game that’s one of the things I want to focus on knowing the scoring is going to come and be out there with a couple guys who are playing really good hockey right now.”

Hossa has 11 goals through 19 games this season. His great chemistry with that second line left coach Joel Quenneville hesitant to break them up. But considering the Blackhawks’ inconsistent offense – they’ve been shut out twice on this trip, and were also shut out for the first 40 minutes against Vancouver – it was time to make a change.

“[Hossa] was still scoring, and I think he can still score with Jonny, so we still think there’s enough offense to go around with him on another line,” Quenneville said. “But we probably kept them together longer than we thought we would, based on performances.”

Michal Rozsival is back in tonight and Michal Kempny will sit. On the forward side, Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins are expected to be the healthy scratches.

Meanwhile, Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) continues to improve but will not join the Blackhawks on this trip. Quenneville said the defenseman could be ready to play when the team returns home.

BLACKHAWKS AT SAN JOSE SHARKS

9 p.m.

TV: WGN

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Vinnie Hinostroza-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Tyler Motte-Nick Schmaltz-Ryan Hartman

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Richard Panik

 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell-Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling-Michal Rozsival

 

Corey Crawford

 

INJURIES: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body).

San Jose Sharks (via CSN Bay Area)

Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi-Logan Couture-Joel Ward

Mikkel Boedker-Chris Tierney-Matt Nieto

Micheal Haley-Danny O’Regan-Tommy Wingels

 

Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun

Paul Martin-Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon-David Schlemko

 

Martin Jones

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.