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Brandon Pirri could be the Blackhawks answer to the hole at center on their second line. If not, Marcus Kruger will be waiting patiently.
The Blackhawks are the proud owners of one of the best, and deepest, offenses in the NHL. They have a little bit of everything. Speed, scoring, hands, grit and toughness are all present in the lineup each and every night. These all contribute to making the 'Hawks one of the most offensively gifted teams coming into this 2013 season.
The top two lines are full of star power.
You have to expect that Kane will finally be moved back up to the top No. 1 line, at least to start. That will mean he will be matched up once again with Jonathan Toews. Patrick Sharp will fill the empty slot on the left wing.
This line will be full of offense but will also have be able to play well in their own end. Both Toews and Sharp bring the added defensive capability that will round out the full extent this line will be able to provide the 'Hawks.
The second line brings just as much firepower and should leave many teams with tough decisions on how to handle what the 'Hawks are able to throw at them. One of the most controversial spots in the lineup in recent years, the second line pivot position will have many players ready, and willing, to fight for the job.
Of course the team is still hoping that Marcus Kruger can improve and show he is capable of playing the role. So far he has been having a good year in Rockford, point-wise at least. On his heels, though, is going to be Brandon Pirri, who also has been having a very good year in the AHL. Also, you can not rule out the option of the 'Hawks bringing in some added help.
Nonetheless, whoever is able to win the role will be playing with Marian Hossa, a force anywhere on the ice.
On the bottom two lines you can expect to see a nice mix of toughness, skill and, most importantly, role players who can provide the type of leadership this team will need to survive a long playoff run.
Dave Bolland will once again be in his comfortable home as the third-line pivot, a spot where he belongs. Matched up with both Saad on the left side and Andrew Shaw on the right, this line provides an excellent mix of skill, defensive play and toughness.
Rounding out the lineup will be Bryan Bickell, Jamal Mayers and Danial Carcillo, who is back from his season-ending injury he endured last season. Carcillo could move his way up the lineup, but as of right now, considering he has not played NHL hockey in a while, should start on the fourth line. Match him up with the strong and ever-improving Bickell and the consistent defender that Mayers is, and again, the 'Hawks boast another strong line.