The Athletic’s Scott Powers spends a lengthy article channeling his inner Joel Quenneville and shuffling lines in six (6!) different fashions. Last week, Powers floated the story that Quenneville may in fact unite captain Jonathan Toews with Patrick Kane, an absolute lethal combination should the Hawks manage to ink Jimmy Vesey. Below are the combinations that Powers threw out–which includes a few combinations should the Hawks land Vesey.
We’ll start with the Vesey scenario: Powers believes that Toews would be flanked by Vesey on his left and Kane on the right. Should Vesey live up to his billing and Kane continue to churn out points like he has the past two seasons, it’s almost criminal what that line could be capable of. The second line would consist of Artemi Panarin – Artem Anisimov – Vinnie Hinostroza, giving them a potent one-two punch on the top two lines. An Andrew Desjardins – Marcus Kruger – Marian Hossa third line provides a great two-way forward line that will be overwhelmingly responsible on both ends of the ice. Powers rounds out these lines with a Richard Panik – Nick Schmaltz – Kyle Baun offering, which Powers argues, is due to the Hawks not wanting to have younger players as healthy scratches.
In his first offering, Powers pencils in what seems to be the most logical as he goes by the organizational and Quenneville-like approach. The lines:
His rationale? Despite relaying the idea that Kane and Toews could be on the ice together often, Powers goes further by saying that any line arrangement with Chicago’s roster is challenging because there are only four definitive top-6 forwards: Toews, Panarin, Anisimov, and Kane. Quenneville, Powers writes, already experimented with moving Hossa to the third line during the 2016 playoffs and will most likely start him there during the regular season. Powers also reports that keeping the Panarin-Anisimov-Kane together is due in part to their production. Hinostroza led AHL affiliate Rockford in points and seems to be one of the few younger players that could earn Quenneville’s trust. Kero and Schmaltz, though on a crapshoot of a line, would bring speed and scoring to a fourth line.
Powers shuffles the chairs on the deck with his other four pairings. But disturbing the wildly dominant Panarin-Anisimov-Kane line seems premature. Even if they land Vesey, leaving this line alone would pay dividends should they be as successful as they were last season. Further, Vesey would be just as productive with the captain on his line.
Everything is contingent on what happens August 15th. But here’s guessing 29 other GM’s are hoping if Vesey doesn’t sign with them, he at least doesn’t go to the Hawks. It would make an already great team even better.