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Player Evaluation: Dan Carcillo

  By Tony DeFrancesco

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Although he missed 54 games last season, we were still able to get a great idea of what Dan 'Car-bomb' Carcillo can bring to the Blackhawks because his character is so vibrant and full of emotion that it spills over when he's on the ice. We only needed a short sample to know that this guy is like a feisty pit bull: he has plenty of bark and a high dose of bite. The mixture was perfect for giving Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane a little bit of extra space as well as protection when needed. At that time, Kane was at the peak of his production and guess what? He was playing at center.

Carcillo appeared in 28 games last season, notching 2 goals and 9 assists as well as a whooping 82 PIM. At times, his emotions rode a bit too high and whether it was positive or negative he was certainly a big influence on the game. Considering the role he plays, he can be fairly productive with his ice-time. Last season he was 7th on the Blackhawks in terms of production time but also consider that he was quite high on the list in terms of playing with quality teammates.

This upcoming season might see a change in Carcillo's role on the team. There is no longer any room for him to see any time with star players as there is a log-jam on the top two lines heading into the season. Most-likely he will be demoted to the 4th line with occasional stints on lines 1-3 if Quenneville is looking for a spark. Don't expect much in terms of production, not even at the rate he produced last season, but he is capable of showing flashes of talent from time to time.

In order for Carcillo to stay in the Blackhawks line-up he'll have to provide that energy and willingness to defend his teammates every night. He has to stay in control and focused because at times he can be reckless -- which hurts himself (literally) and the team. We all know he can hit, agitate, and fight but he gets in trouble when he takes bad penalties and rides too high on emotion. His potential is higher than someone such as Adam Burish as far as effectiveness, but his downside could also be worse depending on which end of the spectrum you get with Carcillo night in and night out.

Many were mad at him for his reckless behavior shortly before he was injured, but the reality is, he'll win over the majority of the fan-base as soon as he takes his first shift on the ice much like he did in his first 25 games as a Blackhawk. Ultimately, you want a guy like this playing for your team, it's a gamble but the payoff through a full season could work especially if Joel Quenneville knows how to keep this dog on a leash.

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