Thin at center, Kane could move to the middle


Thin at center, Kane could move to the middle

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011
Posted: 6:40 p.m. Updated: 8:09 p.m.

By Tracey Myers Blackhawks InsiderFollow @TraMyersCSN
Box score Photo gallery
VIDEO: Coach Q comments on Kruger
VIDEO: Salak feels good about his performance
VIDEO: Pirri says he was 'feeling it'

DETROIT -- It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to find guys who can play center. Their depth there is the most shallow of any position.

But when coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday night that they might give Patrick Kane a shot there, it was nonetheless surprising.

Quenneville said Kane could play some center a few minutes after the Blackhawks lost a 4-3 shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings. Quenneville was first asked about the potential of Michael Frolik playing at the position. Then he mentioned Kane.

"We might try that," he said of his right winger, who is healed after having left wrist surgery back in July. "He's been playing center throughout scrimmages and practices now and we'll see."

When asked if Kane was good with that possibility, Quenneville said, "he's not complaining." Quenneville said Kane has enough of a well-rounded game, including on defense, to give it a try.

"Defensively he's gotten better as he's grown in that position with us, down low on the walls," Quenneville said. "It's something we're going to at least take a look at."

Quenneville had said right before training camp began that he was going to try some different players at center. Obviously he wasn't kidding.

The Blackhawks were hoping that Marcus Kruger would fit in the center mix somewhere. And while Quenneville said Kruger got better as Sunday's game went along, it sounded as if Kruger still wasn't where the Blackhawks want him to be.

"He's been OK this camp," Quenneville said. "He could make plays and he sees plays. But his quickness and strength are things he has to improve on."

Goaltending situation

Quenneville was happy with Sunday's outing by Alex Salak, who stopped 30 of 33 shots. It was Salak's first full game with the Blackhawks.

"He's been good," Quenneville said. "He had an excellent second period and he was real strong in the third. He did a real good job for us."

Ray Emery will get his full-game opportunity on Friday when the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Corey Crawford is likely to play the entire game Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Tracey Myers is's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

NHL Draft Profile: F Andrei Svechnikov

NHL Draft Profile: F Andrei Svechnikov

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

Andrei Svechnikov

Position: Right wing
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 188 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He thinks the game a couple steps ahead and will make decisions with or without the puck that not many can make. He's on a very powerful line but teams focus to stop him. He lets the play and pressure come to him, and he can survey the ice so well. The vision and smarts are impressive."

NHL player comparable: 

Fit for Blackhawks:

In TSN Bob McKenzie's latest final draft ranking, one scout told him that “Svechnikov may be closer to [Rasmus] Dahlin for No. 1 than the rest of the field is to Svechnikov." So yeah, Svechnikov is going second overall. The question is, will Carolina be the one making that pick?

Under new ownership and a new regime, the Hurricanes are open to just about anything. And the word is they won't be moving out of the second spot unless they're blown away by an offer. 

The Blackhawks have been connected with the Hurricanes because the latter possesses a ton of immediate assets, including Scott Darling, Justin Faulk and even Jeff Skinner, all of whom would be a significant upgrade for Chicago. Would it cost more to center a deal around any of those players or the No. 2 overall pick?

Svechnikov is one of probably two players who are absolutely ready to step into an NHL lineup right now. He would look tremendous on the right wing with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. But the price to pay just doesn't seem to be worth it.

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

NHL Draft Profile: D Adam Boqvist

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

Adam Boqvist

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 168 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Boqvist is a finesse defenseman who is very skilled, possesses excellent vision and tons of talent. He is fun to watch and full of surprises on the ice. He often plays bigger than his size and skated in his first games with Sweden's Senior National Team in April."

NHL player comparable: Erik Karlsson

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would love to have Karlsson, who is probably being traded out of Ottawa this summer. Every team would love to have him. But that's not realistic for Chicago. So what if they drafted his potential mini me?

Boqvist is electric with the puck and has drawn comparisons to the Swedish defenseman as a best-case scenario.

There are two concerns, though. One is that he may need some time to develop at just 17 years old and his defense a work in progress. The second is that he's sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds a little bit of risk to the equation.

If he can stay healthy and his development isn't rushed, there's major upside here. But are the Blackhawks willing to be patient? We're not so sure.