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Player Evaluation: Viktor Stalberg
Blackhawk fans have been slightly harsh on Stalberg ever since he was acquired, but I think that is more to do with the frustration that the potential is there and more is expected. Over his tenure as a Blackhawk it's clear that Stalberg possesses an asset to his game that very few in the NHL can rival: his combination of size and speed. At 26 years old, he is entering the prime of his career and should continue to improve his shot and offensive zone awareness which will provide the Blackhawks with another dangerous threat on the wing for the upcoming season.
Player Evaluation: Ray Emery
Ton gives his take on Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery
Player Evaluation: Nick Leddy
Trev gives his take on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy
Player Evaluation: Marcus Kruger
Ton takes a look at the Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger
Player Evaluation: Sheldon Brookbank
Trev takes a look at Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank
Last year Stalberg finished 5th on the Blackhawks in points per 60 minutes (edged out ever so slightly by forwards Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane) but he also was 3rd on the Blackhawks as far as quality of teammates. To his credit, Patrick Kane was 1st on that list and Jonathan Toews was 4th. To be a good player you have to have quality teammates and if Jonathan Toews is that high on the list then we can assume he fed off Stalberg as much as Stalberg fed off him. He's productive in that role, and if he continues to produce, I have a hard time seeing a rookie edge him out right off the bat.
Chemistry plays an important role in Stalberg's effectiveness on this team, he's a hit in the locker room and certainly has gained the teams respect over the last two years. I wouldn't call him a leader as high of a degree as someone like Toews or Seabrook, but he has a character role similar to the respect that Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien had in their Chicago tenure -- a guy you can plug anywhere in your line-up without complaint. As that has proved in the past, players of that capability are invaluable. He fills a piece of that character lost on that Cup team and for such a low price, he should be safe from the trade market.
At this point, expect Stalberg to stay on the top two lines and have a productive year.
PREDICTION: 80 GAMES | 26 GOALS | 23 ASSISTS | 49 POINTS | PLUS-7
Non-traditional stats gathered at behindthenet.ca (points per 60 minutes and quality of teammates)
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