It is time to hand out more grades to the Chicago Blackhawks' forwards. We have already given grades to the team's top line. Now it is time to look at some more of the forwards and how they have done thus far. In this edition we will take a look at Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Michal Handzus.
Patrick Kane (27 G, 36 A, 63 P)
Kane started the season off as arguably the best player in the NHL. It seemed as if he was picking up at least one point every night and for a month he basically was. He had his 12 game point streak snapped in late November and then followed it up with a 14-game point streak. Kane has fallen from second in the scoring race to fifth after going through a slump in January. In 14 games in January he only recorded seven points. Considering Kane has had what seems to be a revolving door of linemates, he has done an incredible job this year and has been a major reason why the team has done so well.
Brandon Saad (18 G, 22 A, 40 P)
In just his second year in the league, Saad is starting to develop into one of the team's better forwards. He has already surpassed his totals in goals, assists, and points from last season and he could come close to reaching the 30-goal mark this season. Saad has the speed and skill to excel in the NHL and it has showed this year. The team has moved him around the lineup, placing him at center as well as the wing. A natural left winger, Saad has been strong next to Patrick Kane this season, but has had his fair share of inconsistencies.
Andrew Shaw (14 G, 12 A, 26 P)
Shaw has already surpassed his career highs in goals, assists and points. He is one of the Blackhawks' more physical players and brings a high level of intensity. He has been inconsistent at times, but he has done a nice job whether he is on the second line, third line or fourth line. He doesn't always make the biggest impact, but he does a lot of the intangibles that go unnoticed.
Michal Handzus (4 G, 7 A, 11 P)
Handzus missed some time this season with an injury and he hasn't had the greatest year. He is also nearing retirement as he turns 37 next month and you can tell his legs are slowing down. He has done a nice job on the penalty killing unit as of late, but his performance during five-on-five hockey has been mostly absent. He started off on the second line, but has since been moved around in hopes of getting him going. Handzus had a subpar regular season last year with the Blackhawks, but really came to life in the playoffs. Hopefully we can expect the same type of performance from him in this year's postseason.
Part three of the forward grades will be coming shortly.
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- Forward Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks: Part One
- Defensemen Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks
- Goaltender Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Blackhawks Sign Forward Andrew Shaw to Two-Year Contract Extension
- Chicago Blackhawks Make Trade, Reunite with Forward Kris Versteeg
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