CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are still searching for a No. 2 center and likely will fill the key role internally for the third straight season.
The answer, thus far, hasn't been found in free agency and might not arrive via trade before the 2012-13 season starts. That means they could again go with a combination of undersized forwards Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger if no other prospects prove they're ready during training camp.
Center - CHI
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 66
SOG: 253 | +/-: 7
The Blackhawks have quite a bit of depth at center in the system, including four prospects selected in the first round of the past three NHL drafts: Teuvo Teravainen
(No. 18 in 2012), Mark McNeill
(No. 18 in 2011), Phillip Danault
(No. 26 in 2011) and Kevin Hayes
(No. 24 in 2010).
"A few years back, we identified center as a position that we wanted to grow some guys into that [role], and I think we've seen in the last couple drafts we've got some guys who are going to be high-end players," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Friday, the last day of a prospects camp featuring all four of those centers. "Some of them aren't too far away, which is a good thing for us. We've seen a few of them even play the wing here just for some different looks, because they can't all play center."