We have already given out grades to the goaltenders, the defensemen, and most of the forwards. With the Olympic break almost over and the Blackhawks back in action on Thursday, it is time to wrap up the grading process. In this edition we will take a look at forwards Brandon Bollig, Jeremy Morin, Joakim Nordstrom, and Ben Smith.
Brandon Bollig (6 G, 6 A, 12 P)
Every team needs a guy that will mix it up with other teams. Whether they want to send a message, protect a player, or get his teammates and fans fired up, Bollig has done a nice job adding a physicality aspect to the team. He isn't expected to score, but instead bring toughness and intimidation when he is on the ice. Bollig also amused us with a video earlier in the season, mimicking Patrick Kane's stick handling video. Bollig called the video "Operation Rain Drop" and allowed us to see a different side of him.
Here is a look at Bollig's humorous video:
Jeremy Morin (1 G, 4 A, 5 P, 15 games)
Morin has played in 15 games for the Blackhawks this season, surpassing the 10-minute mark in only two of those games. When he comes into the game, he plays energized and tries to make the most of his time. His has shown some skill on the offensive end, but it is his defense and backchecking that he needs to really work on. Morin is just 22 years old and could find himself on the Blackhawks roster permanently next season, but he will have to have a strong training camp and preseason if he wants any shot at that happening.
Joakim Nordstrom (1 G, 1 A, 2 P, 10 games)
Nordstrom started the season on the team's top penalty killing unit in hopes of trying to replace Michael Frolik. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks started off as one of the worst penalty killing teams in the NHL, and some of that blame goes to Nordstrom. He is a good skater, but still has to learn positioning. Nordstrom hasn't played much with the Blackhawks this season as he has had two small stints. Based on his performance in that short amount of time, we will give him a lower grade due to ineffectiveness and lack of production.
Ben Smith (7 G, 10 A, 17 P)
Prior to this season, Smith had appeared in games over the last three years for the Blackhawks but never reached more than 13 games in a season. This season he has played in 53 games and has been a nice surprise to the team. He has continued to improve throughout the course of the season and has helped add some offense to the fourth line. He is a disciplined player who doesn't take bad penalties and he also has the ability to draw penalties for his team. Smith has still gone through his fair share of inconsistencies, but overall he has been a decent addition to the team's fourth line this season.
Brad Mills and Peter Regin receive incomplete grades as they have not played enough games to be evaluated fairly.
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- Forward Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks: Part One
- Forward Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks: Part Two
- Forward Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks: Part Three
- Defensemen Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks
- Goaltender Grades for the Chicago Blackhawks
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