Tomas Kopecky's Versatility: Provides The Chicago Blackhawks With Another Weapon

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst ISeptember 19, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Dave Bolland #36 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 12, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

When Tomas Kopecky signed with the Chicago Blackhawks on July 1st many fans wrote it off as a depth signing and the Blackhawks only gaining another fourth line forward.

However as training camp unfolds, Kopecky seems to be moving his way up the Blackhawks depth chart. As we sit here today Kopecky sits on the Blackhawks second line along with Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp.

Reports out of camp are that Coach Joel Quenneville loves the way Kopecky plays; extremely gritty but also has good skills with the puck and can put up goals when he needs to.

Although he is having a great camp, the main reason that he is slotted on the Hawks' second line is that regular Dave Bolland has an undisclosed back injury. Even though the injury is said to be minor, if Bolland is unable to go Quenneville seems to be content with Kopecky.

But can Kopecky really be a guy that can carry the offensive load that is needed from a second line center?

In Kopecky's NHL career he has played 183 games and in those games he has scored 12 goals and 20 assists. At first glance Kopecky's numbers are far from sensational but you must look deeper.

In Kopecky's career he has been a fourth line forward on an extremely deep Detroit Red Wings team. Something that might point to Kopecky's ability to be an effective top nine player is his final year in the AHL.

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In Kopecky's final year in the AHL, before making the jump to the NHL he was able to record 72 points (32 goals, 40 assists) and 123 penalty minutes in 77 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

So yes it might be possible for Kopecky to actually be able to make the jump from Detroit's fourth line to the Blackhawks' second or third line. Although the AHL may not be on the same level as the NHL it shows that when Kopecky is asked to fill a role he can do so very effectively.

When Bolland returns to the ice (and it sounds like it will be soon) Kopecky will likely be bumped down to the third line along with Andrew Ladd and John Madden, which could be a good offensive line in its own right.

Since Bolland will likely be able to make a full recovery and return to the ice before the home opener, Tomas Kopecky still will figure to be a big part of the Chicago Blackhawks season.

Whether he is a second line scoring center, a third line two-way wing, or a fourth line checking center, Tomas Kopecky can do it all and that is why he will play such a large role for the Chicago Blackhawks.

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