Alright, let’s take this death march to the forwards, where the story is kind of the same—just as the defense is mostly a collection of 6th or even 7th guys, the offense is a potpourri of bottom-sixers. Case in point: the very guy we’re kicking this off with, Drake Caggiula.
2018-19 Stats (w/ Hawks)
26 GP – 5 G – 7 A – 12 P
49.71 CF% (1.17 CF% Rel) – 45.48 xGF% (0.92 xGF% Rel)
59.2 oZS% – 40.8 dZS% – 14:51 Avg. TOI
A Brief History: The very best day of Caggiula’s career with the Hawks came before he even dressed. That day was the day they acquired him in a trade with the hilariously stupid Edmonton Oilers that relieved us of everyone’s, particularly John Pullega’s, most-hated player, Brandon Manning. Caggiula could literally have been a beer league player of a bag of pucks and he would have been welcomed with open arms in exchange for Manning. And even once that rapturous feeling wore off, Caligula was not terrible on the top line with Toews and Kane. Granted, it’s hard to be terrible on a line with them but he did no harm.
Except to himself, that is. Because despite sustaining a concussion and missing about a month, this dumbshit promptly ran head first into getting domed by Dustin Byfuglien, which didn’t result in another (acknowledged) head injury, but it did show that he is a complete and utter oaf. And fortunately, everyone realized he’s really just a bottom-six guy with a bunch of missing teeth, so his position on the top line wasn’t exactly the linchpin of the offense.
It Was the Best of Times: Given the collection of flotsam the Hawks have acquired, Caggiula’s best-case situation is to settle in on the third line with David Kampf and maybe Brendan Perlini. Or Brandon Saad, if he gets marooned there. Or Andrew Shaw. That’s right—Andrew Shaw belongs at best on a third line, he’s not an elite scorer, and he’s a dumb piece of shit. I know, you don’t believe me, but you’ll see.
Anyway, this preview is about Caggiula, and while his mediocre possession numbers, despite very sheltered zone starts, don’t scream third line, ideally he’ll improve the defensive aspects of his game, and this is where he’d make the most sense in terms of the depth chart. Essentially, if you have to have Drake Caggiula in your top six, you’re fucked.
It Was the BLURST of Times: And that brings us to the worst-case scenario. Let’s say Saad has a slump, Kubalik doesn’t pan out, Nylander remains useless, and no one earns or deserves a spot on the top line with Daydream Nation so it falls to Caggiula. He likely wouldn’t do too much harm, aside from probably taking some stupid-ass penalties and getting brown brain a couple times, but he also wouldn’t provide the scoring ability the Hawks need. And it would exemplify how their bloated forward corps is really just a bunch of guys. A bunch of guys who don’t make the playoffs.
Prediction: Caggiula will most likely meander among the bottom six, possibly spending some brief stints on the top line as Coach Cool Youth Pastor figures out who’s awful and who’s useful. For his part, Caggiula will finish with around 20 points as a half-decent albeit very block-headed third- or fourth-liner, best remembered for being anyone other Brandon fucking Manning.