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Blackhawks Fri Oct 24 2014

Carcillo, Versteeg Looking to Prove They Belong

Chicago BlackhawksThere are times when Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman looks like a genius, mostly for his ability to trade away minimal or expiring talent in return for draft picks or relatively unknown prospects. There was the time in 2010 when he traded Cam Barker to the Wild for Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy, or even something as exciting as when he was able to land Teuvo Teravainen on a three-year contract at entry-level pricing.

But with the good come a few head-scratchers along the way. Most notably, the re-signing of Dan Carcillo prior to this season and re-acquiring, via trade, Kris Versteeg last November. It's been a roll of the dice for sure, especially the Vertseeg move last year. But can both actually provide enough service on the ice for another run at the Cup instead of time spent on the bench or penalty box?

The Carcillo move was loved by everyone in the locker room, as he's the guy who has their back. "The Carbomb" has never shied away from racing across the ice to pummel an opponent -- albeit, poorly on most occasions -- including his debut this last preseason against Tanner Glass.

But beyond making some bad passes and whiffing on some shots, what has Carcillo produced for the Hawks during his two stints with the franchise? Carcillo's best season was with the 2009-'10 Flyers, a team the Hawks beat in six to with their first Cup in nearly 50 years. That season, Carcillo played in 76 games, averaged 11:15 of ice time per game, scored 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) and had a modest 11.4 shooting percentage.

When Carcillo signed with the Hawk in 2011 for $775,000, he was looked upon as someone who might find a rebirth in a franchise, which recently rediscovered itself after years of perierat identitas. What followed were injuries and a weekly music show on WGN.

There was the time he kept the streak alive on a last-second goal, but beyond that, there hasn't been anything more than single-digit points to go along with double-digit penalty minutes.

Versteeg is a different case study as he flashes talent at times and has a better rapport on the ice with Patrick Kane and the like. When the Hawks traded away Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen to get Versteeg (and Phillippe Lefebrve), Bowman also was able to include in the deal that former Hawks' GM Dale Tallon, who acquired Versteeg while with the Hawks, pay for half of his salary -- again, Bowman's ability to be brash in his moves.

What followed was a lackluster performance by Versteeg to close out the regular season and, ultimately, a bench assignment during the playoffs. It turned out Versteeg was playing through injury and was unable to help in any shape or form.

While with the Hawks his first go-around, Versteeg would put up 40 to 50 points per season, which produced a third-place vote for the Calder Cup in the 2008-'09 season. (Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets would take the award that year with an overwhelming 1,268 votes. Versteeg finished just behind Bobby Ryan of the Ducks for second place with 323 votes.)

It would seem this year might be the time for both skaters to turn things around, and thus far, a mere six games (4-1-1) in, both Versteeg and Carcillo are seeing ample time on the ice. Thus far Carcillo (six games) and Versteeg (two games) have 48:09 and 31:27 of ice time, respectively.

According to puckalytics.com, Carcillo is averaging 1.25 points per 60 minutes while Versteeg carries an iFenwick of eight, second best amongst those with a max of two games played, and an iCORSI of nine, tops amongst those with a max of two games played. What's even more shocking is Carcillo's penalty minutes (two) compared to that of Niklas Hjalmarsson (10) already this season.

It also seems like Versteeg is skating with greater awareness and speed on the ice, especially in Thursday night's 3-2 loss to the Predators. Versteeg was on the ice for a little over 16 minutes and took a total of three shots. It night not seem like much, but it accounted for one of nearly every 11 from the team.

Joel Quenneville will mix the lines throughout the season, which may see an increase of TOI on occasion to go along with a healthy scratch here and there. If Quenneville can work Versteeg and Carcillo into improving their game with this level of talent, instead of relying on their usual tactics, it will be a team able to boast three solid lines and a serviceable fourth. It's a gamble Bowman is hoping could produce a big return.

 
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