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The third line will feature three players who have played for the Blackhawks for a combined 350 NHL games.
Playing LW will be Bryan Bickell, who played in his fourth season with the club, but his first with a consistent job on the team. Bickell played 78 games this past season, registering 17 G, 20 A, 37 pts, and 178 hits, finishing plus-six on the season. Not a bad season, especially for a guy making just over half a million. Bickell is known for his bruising style of play, but also for his quick release, blistering shot, often catching goalies off guard.
At RW will be Baby Jagr, Michael Frolik. Frolik was acquired last season in a trade with the Panthers that sent him and Alexandre Salak to Chicago for Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman, and David Pacan. In my opinion, this was highway robbery on the part of the Blackhawks, who acquired a backup goaltender and a top-six forward on most teams for Jack Skille (a third-line at best) and two prospects.
Last season was Frolik's third in the NHL, and the first season in which he did not register 20 G. I believe that is due to his movement between teams and having to adjust to a new system. In addition, he will not be expected to produce on a nightly basis like he was in Florida. He did register 11 G and 27 A in 80 games last season, but had a tremendous series against Vancouver, registering two G, five P and finishing plus-three. Frolik will hopefully be a Blackhawk for a long time to come.
However, his contract is up this year, requiring another guess on my part. Last season, Frolik made $1.275bmil, and I can see his contract going as high as $2 mil for next year. Any higher and I think Bowman walks away from the table.
Finally, this line will be centered by our very own Rat, David Bolland. Last year was the year of the Rat, as Bolland continued his style of shut-down play, helping to cause Vancouver's scoring machine to come to a screeching halt during the four games he played in the playoffs. He missed a significant amount of time last season due to his injury-prone back and a concussion caused by an elbow for Pavel Kubina. He did register 37 pts in 61 games, but finished plus-11 for the season.
Dave Bolland is known for his ability to get under the skin of opposing team's top lines and preventing them from scoring as much as they'd like or are used to. He will continue this style of play, as long as he can stay healthy.
These three players accounted for 43 G, 69 A, and 112 pts last season, which is quite a bit for a third line. This will be a physical line and will be effective at shutting down top lines, while doing a little bit of scoring, too. This will make the Hawks one of the deeper teams, at least through the top three lines.
This line will cost the Hawks approx. $5.92 mil for next season:
Bickell: $541 k
Bolland: $3.375 mil
Frolik: $2 mil
Total so far: $31.52 mil