CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
In one hit on Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert on Jan. 2, Daniel Carcillo received a five-minute major penalty, seven-game suspension and torn ACL that ended his first season in Chicago after just 28 games. While he was on the ice (for an average of 11 minutes, 24 second per game), Carcillo scored two goals and had nine assists. He delivered 76 hits, sat i the penalty box for 82 minutes and fininshed plus-10.
Boden's take: Like Steve Montador, Carcillo's season can't truly be assessed outside of the 28 games he played. He started the season serving a suspension carried over from the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, and earned two more sitdowns, including the play that eventually ended his season. As he shuffled between forward lines, he seemed at times to be trying to figure out the fine line between hard, clean play and a style that crept over "the edge." Sometimes it even seemed as though he was thinking whether to be more agitator or playmaker. When he found a comfort zone on the correct side of that line, he was good. Had he stayed healthy, he could have been useful in the playoff series against Phoenix. He's willing to dig in corners and protect the skill guys if he's on the top two lines.
Myers' take: Ah, Carbomb. When he was good, he was pretty good. And when he was bad he was suspended. Carcillo started the season where few expected him to: on a line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane. And for the most part, the experiment was a good one. Carcillo provided the protection for the Blackhawks stars and added a little offense of his own. But then there was that other side, the one that has led to 10 suspensions and fines, including three this season. Carcillos last was his most costly, both for the Blackhawks and him personally (seven games and a season-ending knee surgery).
Chris: Despite being sidelined with his major knee injury, the Blackhawks re-signed him to a two-year, 1.65 million deal, saying if they didn't, they'd be looking for a similar type of player on the market, anyway. He wasn't expected to begin skating for another couple of weeks after his January surgery. The play on which he was injured is a classic example of the quick decisions a player like him must make. He could have won the race to the puck behind the Oilers' net, but in my opinion, chose to slow down to make the physical (and illegal) play on Gilbert.
We know what he's capable of doing from a hell-raising standpoint. If he finds himself too often on the wrong side of discipline, the Blackhawks need to be much better penalty killers than this past season. He doesn't have to do his best Matt Cooke impression and go almost completely choirboy (the Penguin had a career-high 19 goals, but a career-low 44 penalty minutes after 129 and multiple suspensions the year before), but just find a way to play his game, and remain in the lineup.
Tracey: The Blackhawks gave Carcillo a two-year extension because they liked his edge. Now he needs to play on the right side of it a lot more often. His past is what it is, and the suspension lengths will only keep going up if he keeps getting into trouble. Guys like Cooke have shown they can clean up and be a strong -- and still edgy -- contributor to their teams. Carcillo has to do the same.
How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out some of Carcillo's highlights above.
Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Patrick Sharp
Up next: Andrew Brunette