Nearly lost in the weekend news of the long-rumored trade of Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy was the signing of forward Daniel Carcillo to his second stint with the team.
This move came after Carcillo was invited to training camp on Friday morning and skated for the Hawks in their final preseason game, in New York, against the Rangers.
It’s a one-year deal worth just $550,000, yet it still seems to be too much.
Why did general manager Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville feel the need to bring back this self-proclaimed pest?
Carcillo even provided the argument against his own signing in a story from Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus.
“That role is being pushed out — it’s extinct,” he said. “If you look at who’s getting pushed out of the league, it’s guys who do that job. If you’re one-dimensional and you can’t play the game you’re in trouble. You definitely have to be able to play, to skate.”
Although, in the second half of that quote, Carcillo attempted to justify his role in the league.
“But at the same time, some of the guys like me have unpredictability on their side. (Opponents) know if they want to take liberties with anyone on this team, that there’s going to be an answer. That’s the big thing, to make guys feel comfortable and let the superstars play and do their thing.”
Carcillo’s assertions aren’t rooted in any fact, though. If they were true, perhaps Carcillo would’ve gotten more than a team-low 8:28 in that game where he was auditioning for a roster spot. If they were true, perhaps Brandon Bollig would’ve averaged more than a miniscule 6:24 of ice time in the 2014 postseason (and perhaps he’d still be on the team) If they were true, perhaps these recent looks (http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2013/10/7/4804752/does-fighting-deter-other-nasty-business-in-hockey) (http://regressing.deadspin.com/the-enforcer-fallacy-hockeys-fighting-specialists-don-1442618145) into that theory would’ve yielded different reactions.
In a ranking of the NHL by total fighting majors issued to each team, three teams from the bottom 10 reached the conference finals: the Blackhawks, Rangers and Stanley Cup Champion Kings.
So, if fighting is on its way out of the NHL, what does Carcillo bring to the Blackhawks?
The short answer is: not much.
He won’t be of any use to the Blackhawks special team units, be it the power play or the penalty kill. He doesn’t have the offensive ability to keep up with any of the Hawks’ top 3 scoring lines.
It appears he’s destined for the fourth line in Chicago, but even that’s a bad idea, because he’d be taking away ice time from youngsters Ben Smith and Jeremy Morin. And those two players have significantly outperformed Carcillo in the past three years.
Smith notched 14 goals and 12 assists in 75 games last year while also contributing to the Hawks penalty kill. Morin only played in 24 games in 2013-14, but still managed 11 points in his brief playing time.
Carcillo, meanwhile, has played 102 games since the Hawks first signed him back in 2011.
He has eight goals. EIGHT.
The biggest potential crime of Carcillo’s presence on the Blackhawks’ roster would be robbing Morin of ice time, after Morin has spent multiple seasons waiting for an opportunity to get an extended look with the parent club. A look he’s deserved with this play in Rockford the last few years as well as in this preseason.
So if Carcillo’s fights won’t mean anything to this team and if he doesn’t have the offensive ability to fit in on any of the Blackhawks top four lines …
Why is he here?