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Chicago Blackhawks: Will Patrick Kane Ever Adapt as a Center?

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 12:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks in action during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on April 12, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
James MaahsContributor IIIApril 29, 2012

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has always been striving to reach the next level in his professional career.

Whether that be improving his back checking, increasing his point production or making the switch to center, Kane has always looked to get better each and every season.

Though, it seems that Kane has taken a step back this past season and in the first-round series against the Phoenix Coyotes

It's fair to say that Kane expects much more than 66 points for the season and four assists in six playoff games. Kane has the ability and skill to produce at least 90 points per season, though he never has reached that benchmark.

It would also be feasible to say that Kane could reach the 100-point mark eventually, but that requires production on a much more consistent level.

Kane is one of the smaller players in the NHL, but he also possesses unmatched speed and agility. 

So it begs the question, when will Kane reach the next level?

An average of 70 points a season just isn't good enough for a player of Kane's skill; he can do so much more. (Via the Chicago Sun-Times)

“As far as my season personally, you want to put up some more points and some more goals,” Kane said this week. “But I’m excited about the challenge next year.”

The Blackhawks' organization also expects more out of Kane which is part of the reason why they said he should try and play center.

The persistent calls from fans this season to trade Kane simply because his point production was down were laughable. Kane was trying to help his team out in more ways than one; he is a true team player.

Trying to adapt as a center man is the reason why Kane's point production was down this year. Learning how to win faceoffs and be responsible in his own defensive zone has made Kane more of a complete player.

But the time has come that Kane adapt to center and become a better two-way forward. Naturally, Kane is a point producer so the points will come, it's just about him finding a way to be more responsible on defense.

Once he becomes comfortable at playing center, he will become a more vital part of the Blackhawks and will be seen as less expendable.

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman believes that Kane will become the second-line center that the team has always needed.

“The notion that he can’t play center and isn’t good at center have been dispelled,” Bowman said. “Not only did our team play well when he was in the middle, he played well.”

That might be true even if it doesn't reflect well on Kane's production. But Kane doesn't seem to mind saying that if it's better for the team he will go along and try to make it work.

Obviously, my best [individual] years were at right wing. This year was a little bit different because I never really played center before. It was the first time I was playing center. I had to try it out. Even when I wasn’t doing that well at center in November or December, the team was still winning. That’s the most important thing.


Follow Featured Columnist James Maahs on Twitter for all the latest Blackhawks' news and updates.

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