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Playoffs: Preds and Hawks X-Factors

Subban Could Hit Another Level in the Playoffs; Hawks Youth Movement Must Remain Strong

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Youth Movement: It feels a little strange to talk about young players needing to step up when discussing the veteran-filled roster of the Blackhawks, but the salary cap restrictions of the modern era have caused the Hawks to rely on younger skaters, while keeping their core intact.

A large youth class of Ryan Hartman, Vinnie Hinostroza, Tanner Kero, Dennis Rasmussen joined Artemi Panarin as players with under three years of experience who have shined at different times for the Hawks this season.

Can their success continue in the pressure-packed moments of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Subban's Time: Following his return from a 16-game absence due to an upper-body injury, the Preds have caught glimpses of the superstar player they acquired in the offseason. P.K. Subban collected points in bunch down the stretch in the regular season, as he worked to fully acclimate himself within the Nashville lineup.

But is there another level Subban can reach in the playoff this year? He's done so before in Montreal, notching 38 points in 55 career playoff games, including four power-play goals in a single postseason during the Canadiens run to the Eastern Conference Final.

Whether it's by sending a teammate in on a breakaway with a long-range pass or blasting a shot home on the power play, Subban at another level in the postseason could be the exact factor the Preds need to push them over the top.

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