Sunday, July 14, 2024

Best-Case Scenario For Blackhawks’ Top Forward Line This Season


When the Blackhawks take the ice for the first time this October, all eyes will be on the team’s top attacking line featuring rookie sensation Connor Bedard. The line was injected with fresh talent this summer, and will now include Bedard and former first-overall pick Taylor Hall. The trio will be an exciting one and will look to score goals in bunches this year.

However, this is a Blackhawks team that has seen the lowest of lows. The offense was an embarrassment for much of last year, often stymied by opposing defenses. Last season’s top line wasn’t all too exciting, often featuring some combination of Tyler Johnson, Jason Dickinson, and Jonathan Toews. The unit wasn’t very productive, especially when compared to the first lines of other teams.

This year’s group has the potential to completely buck the trend. While some may argue that the Blackhawks’ top line has become overhyped, the group has practically limitless upside. If that’s the case, then what’s the best-case scenario?

Lines being used in this series are from the team depth chart at CBS Sports.

Connor Bedard

Let’s start with the obvious – the 18-year-old rookie has the potential to be the most lethal scorer and playmaker in the entire NHL. There’s a reason he was heralded as one of the greatest prospects of all time, alongside the likes of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. The only problem that would hold him back from an absolutely monster season is the potential lack of talent around him, though we argued Wednesday that that may not be the case. He has the skills to put up one of the best rookie seasons we’ve ever seen.

Bedard lands in a great situation on the top line and is a great fit with the other two skaters. The addition of Taylor Hall on his left will take a lot of pressure off the young prospect, as Hall is a more-than-competent shooter and playmaker. Meanwhile, Taylor Raddysh is a perfect fit on his right. Last season, Raddysh performed best statistically when he was setting up uber-talented teammates like Toews. This year, he’ll provide great chances for Hall and Bedard to score and achieve their best-case scenarios.

Taylor Hall

Of all the acquisitions made by GM Kyle Davidson and his staff this summer, Hall was one of the top headliners. The five-time All-Star and 2018 Hart Trophy winner isn’t necessarily the same threat he was at the top of his game but is still lethal on the offensive end. His upside is still pretty much limitless, and he could easily lead the team in goals.

With Bedard leading the charge for Chicago’s top line, Hall could surprise many with a monster goal-scoring season. While opposing defenses will be primarily focused on the young star, Hall could find himself open more than ever before. Becoming a second option on the top line could do Hall some good, and he could be a great fit in the group.

Taylor Raddysh

Raddysh is gathering plenty of momentum to hold down a spot on the top line this season, and for good reason. He produced at a high level last year on a team without much talent, and would be a great option alongside Bedard and Hall. I made the complete case for Raddysh on the top line last week here.

If Raddysh finds himself on the team’s top line this year, he’ll be a perfect fit alongside what should be two of the league’s best scorers. He’s a great puck rebounder who excels at cleaning up loose pucks around the net and has proven in the past that he’s most productive when playing alongside lethal shooters. His skill set consistently creates numerous chances for his teammates.

There’s plenty of pressure on the Blackhawks’ top forward line this year, but in the group’s best-case scenario, they could certainly be lethal on a nightly basis. Hall, Bedard, and Raddysh should fit well together and have massive potential as the top line in Chicago.

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