|Jonathan Toews (Getty Images)|
That top line could work. The Blackhawks had back-to-back years when they were picking in the top-two of the NHL draft and did not miss with either pick, landing Kane and Jonathan Toews, two guys that were cornerstones of their 2010 Stanley Cup team.
Line 2: Dustin Byfuglien-Dave Bolland-Tuomo Ruutu
Look, I know Dustin Byfuglien is currently a defenseman. I know that when the Blackhawks drafted him he was a defenseman. But he did most of his work in Chicago as a forward that planted himself in front of the net caused all sorts of chaos around opposing goalies. I’m putting him back at forward. While Jonathan Toews gets a lot of the credit for his work defensively (and he deserves it), it’s actually Dave Bolland that spends a lot of time getting matched up against other teams top forwards and is asked to do some of the heavy lifting.
Dan Cleary never did much as a member of the Blackhawks before he was traded, and he had to go to Detroit to really come into his own, but he would be a great fit on just about any NHL team as a third-liner right now.
Offensive scratch: Brandon Saad
Defense pairing 1: Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Simply put, this pairing has been great for the Blackhawks. It was their top pairing during their Stanley Cup year, and it was also the year Keith added the Norris Trophy to his resume.
Defense pairing 2: Niklas Hjalmarsson-James Wisniewski
The Blackhawks chose Niklas Hjalmarsson, their fourth-round pick in 2005, over goaltender Antti Niemi when both players were restricted free agents following the 2009-10 season. During his brief time with the Blackhawks James Wisniewski showed some offensive ability, but didn’t really blossom in that area until he went to the Islanders during the 2010-11 season.
Defensive scratch: Anton Babchuk
Since this is only using players that were drafted, that eliminates Niemi from consideration. Crawford, coming off a disappointing sophomore season, is currently the No. 1 man in Chicago and Craig Anderson would probably give him a real challenge for that spot.