Chicago Blackhawks: Who Replaces Marian Hossa on the Top Line?

Jon FromiSenior Analyst IFebruary 21, 2013

Viktor Stalberg may get tapped to replace Marian Hossa on the top line if Hossa is unable to play Friday night.
Viktor Stalberg may get tapped to replace Marian Hossa on the top line if Hossa is unable to play Friday night.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Chicgo Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa is one of the NHL's top performers, and replacing him in the 'Hawks lineup is not an easy assignment for coach Joel Quenneville.

Due to the wayward arm of Jannik Hansen, Quenneville may have to do just that for at least some period of time.

Darren Dreger reported that Hansen was the recipient of a well-deserved one-game suspension for sticking a forearm into the back of Hossa's head. Hossa will surely be evaluated in regards to his status for Friday's game with San Jose.

He could be in the lineup against the Sharks, however, with Hossa missing most of the final period of Tuesday's game with Vancouver, it's more than possible that a spot may be open on the Blackhawks top line.

Who will get the call for Chicago to take Hossa's place aside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad? Here are some possible candidates:

Bryan Bickell—He could provide a bit of muscle for Toews and Saad along with some offensive skill. He has played well on the third line and might prove valuable if he can retain some aggressiveness in the increased minutes.

Viktor Stalberg—I like how Stalberg has generated offense by taking the puck strong to the net. He skated several shifts with the top line Tuesday and might be the man to take over while Hossa is out.

Daniel Carcillo—He is nearing a return to the lineup, and this would be a good way to get him back into the mix. Does this leave Toews with enough to work with? I'm not sure.

Patrick Kane—This breaks up the second line but Quenneville could reason that loading up the top line might well be worth it.

Brandon Bollig—Just kidding...wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

I would like to see Stalberg get first shot if Hossa is not able to suit up Friday. I think that his speed could be an asset in the absence of Hossa's ability to retain the puck. It is likely that several skaters will get some time with the captain's line as circumstances dictate.

Hossa's status will be made a bit more clear when we see if he comes out for practice Thursday. If he isn't on the ice, we may get a hint of what Quenneville is planning to do.