Musings

Post-Convention Grab Bag

-There seemed to have been a bit of furor–in that whenever anything happens in July you have to make something out of it to pretend anything is happening at all–that at the convention Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov expressed disappointment that Artemi Panarin had been traded for Brandon Saad.

It’s clearly obvious why Kane would be. His numbers are going to suffer. And that doesn’t make Kane out to be selfish or uncaring about the team. Most if not all hockey players are acutely aware of their stats, just as any athlete is any other sport is as well. Believe me, Jimmy Butler knows exactly what his points and assists are per game and Kris Bryant knows what he’s hitting. It’s part of the job.

And Kane is known to be more stats-aware than most players. He’s the most analytic-knowledgeable in that dressing room, and by some distance. So Kane probably knows the effect going from Panarin to either Schmaltz or an aging Sharp or probably over-his-head Hartman or whoever else is going to dampen his production.

Kane was a point-per-game in ’14-’15, but that rose to 1.3 with Panarin’s arrival the following season and nearly 1.1 last year. It was an MVP season in one and a candidate in another. The overall shooting percentage when Kane was on the ice, not his personal, jumped from 7.3% three seasons ago to 10.8% to 9.5% last year. That stands to reason given Panarin’s generational release and shot. Whoever is over there next season isn’t going to have that.

That doesn’t mean the Hawks won’t be better (though it could). That doesn’t mean that if they are Kane’s going to be sulking on the bench because he’s going to have a 75-point season instead of a 90-point one. But one probably enjoys being a Hart candidate, and certainly one enjoys how Panarin rewarded the things Kane does best, even if that turned Panarin into a one-dimensional player.

-I always get a kick out of reporters asking Quenneville where he plans to play players in July. You might as well ask him what he is going to have for dinner on January 16th. Hopefully, something healthy that tastes good and isn’t expensive. But it could be a chalupa! Or whiskey! Who knows?

We know that basically in the top nine, everyone is going to play with everyone. One thing the past couple seasons Q has been more static than we remember in shifting guys around on the lines. Kane and The Russian Spies stuck together. Toews played with either Panik or Hossa and the left side was rotated.

This year could be anything, really. We know Anisimov and Toews will be centers. They say that Saad will stick with Toews all season, but given how Saad and Kane tore a hole in the Earth at times together, you’ll probably see that at times too. Or when things are bad I bet we’ll see a totally loaded up top line with all three of them (who’s ready for a second line of Hartman-Anisimov-Panik? You are!). Injuries are also going to be an issue that effects this.

We don’t know which kids will stick and which will shuttle and which will flame out. I suppose Q has brought this on himself a little bit, being so shifty in the past, making some odd decisions as well and basically turning us all into frothing buffoons over it.

-Fourth-line plug Wommy Tingels broke his foot while training, but it appears he’ll be ready for camp. Shame that the Hawks can’t use the injury as a reconsideration on the signing at all but oh well. Maybe they can use it as an excuse to launch Lance Bouma before he ever shows up. I mean I don’t know how that would work but they’re not paying me to figure it out. Get someone in their “analytics” department on it.

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