Still doing it. Let’s get through it.
The Dizzying Highs
Brendan Perlini – Four goals in three games will get you here. Sure, his charge and stretch for a hat trick last night with three seconds left was downright comedic, but hat tricks are special and he’s hardly the first or last (and how many tantrums have we seen Christiano Ronaldo throw when a player doesn’t serve him up his hat trick? It’ll look the same when he goes to prison). Bring Perlini up to 11 for the year, which seems a decent total for what should be a third-liner. Which is what he almost certainly is going forward on a team that’s intent on doing something that matters. The one game he didn’t score his coach called his best, and a 62% share backs that up.
Is he more? These last 13 games might say more than you’d think. Of course we’ve seen plenty of players pile the goals in when the games stopped mattering, and then the next season they returned to a faceless part of the rabble. We’ve also seen players like Patrick Sharp drive hard in the season’s last throes to achieve some benchmark–with Sharp it was 20 goals in 2007–and then use that as a platform to become A THING. Perlini is only 22, which is easy to forget. He’s getting a chance to play with real talent in Top Cat and Strome, and in their few games together he’s lifted their peripherals to heights they weren’t getting to with Dominik Kahun.
I don’t know if Perlini will ever be a real piece. He might be Jack Skille with assignments (Skille never really got a look on a top six, nor did he deserve to) What I do know is he has the type of speed that the Hawks need more of, and put him in position he does seem to have a sense on how to get the puck in the net. There are worse uses for these last stretch of games than to audition Perlini.
The Terrifying Lows
Draft Position – There’s not really much else to put here when you’ve won all three games this week, and this matters to a lot of people. The way things are going, the Hawks could draft anywhere from 7th-12th, and maybe even lower. The schedule remains pretty damn soft until the last week, so who knows how silly this will get? Are you likely to get an immediate difference-maker drafting 9th? You are not. Can you package the 9th pick with say, Jokiharju or Beaudin or Boqvist to get you one? Yes, yes you can. Which is what the Hawks should be thinking about. But in reality, losing every game from here on out and drafting 4th would be better. long-term. But they’re not going to do that, so we need to deal with what is.
The Creamy Middles
Jonathan Toews – It’s hard to believe that Captain Marvel could easily reach career-highs in goals and points this year (though it’s important to note that in the season-in-a-can of 2013 Toews played at a 40-43-83 pace). Don’t fool yourself, it’s come at a sacrifice of some of his all-around game. But the game now is about offense, and if he had a better blue line behind him you wouldn’t mind as much. Another four points this week, and though things are reversed now where teams are throwing their best at Kane and Toews can clean up against lesser now, you still have to do that. The way we talk about him makes him out to be 35 or 42 years old. He’s only 30. There’s still some planning to be done around him.