The Chicago Blackhawks are a team that prides itself on playing hockey predicated on puck possession, shot generation and shot suppression. That strategy has led them to two Stanley Cup titles in the past five seasons, and it’s what makes them a perennial Cup favorite.
Oddly, the team apparently still harbors the notion that they need a player whose primary role is to punch people in the face and stir up trouble, because they have made it clear that they are going to try to replace Brandon Bollig rather than allowing a guy like Jeremy Morin to play serious minutes. The Brandon Mashinter experiment definitely qualified, but even an injury to him may not be enough to get Morin playing time.
That’s because the Blackhawks decided on Friday to bring back Daniel "Carbomb" Carcillo, who played for the team from 2011-2013. In that span, he played in 51 regular season games, scoring four goals and dishing out 10 assists. He also further enhanced his reputation as a “grit” guy (and we use that term loosely) for tearing his ACL while boarding Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert, and he also earned a seven game suspension in the process.
In 2013, Carcillo was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, and then was traded in early 2014 to the New York Rangers. While there he was suspended for 10 more games for using physical force against an official, but it ended up being knocked down to six games. Carcillo then was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in September before being released by them.
So to break down Carcillo’s last three years in the NHL, we’ll say this: in 120 combined games between the regular season and playoffs, he has scored 10 goals and added 12 assists, while being suspended for 13 games. That is not a good ratio for a player, and yet there he was on Friday skating onto the ice wearing a Blackhawks jersey.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks, they aren’t likely going to have the cap space to keep Carcillo around for the season. Even if he makes NHL minimum of $550,000, it would put the Blackhawks over the cap by almost $1.9 million (assuming they send Teuvo Teravainen to Rockford to start the season). Getting rid of Michal Rozsival via trade would get the Hawks under the cap, but it seems highly unlikely that the team would carry 14 forwards and six defensemen, so recalling Klas Dahlbeck full-time would still leave the Hawks $286,000 over the cap.
In that case, the Hawks would have to make a choice: do they want to pay Carcillo the minimum to play fourth-line minutes, or do they want to keep Morin around? Sending Morin down would mean that he would have to clear waivers, and there is virtually no way he would clear. Doing that would get the Hawks back under the cap, but at a serious price as they lose an incredibly versatile forward.
With all of that being said, it doesn’t seem like it makes any sense to keep Carcillo around into the regular season. Keeping him or Mashinter would require the Hawks to not only trade away a defenseman to save cap space, but they would also have to subject Morin or Peter Regin to waivers as well. Is that worth the price to keep a guy on the roster whose sole purpose would be to add “grit” (and the penalties and suspensions that come along with it)? In our eyes, it isn’t, but when it comes to the way Quenneville likes to set up his lineup, reason sometimes takes a back seat to bloodlust.