When the Chicago Blackhawks decided to bring back Daniel Carcillo just before the season got underway, the reactions were decidedly mixed, to the surprise of absolutely no one. There are those that were of the mentality that the face-punching presence that Carcillo brings to the mix was something necessary and made worth throwing a six-figure deal his way, while others questioned whether he'd serve any real purpose in the lineup.
Carcillo certainly hasn't been met with the type of vitriol when he finds his way into the lineup that Brandon Bollig was last year, but it's not as if he's given anyone much of anything to discuss. In fact, he's been nearly invisible when he is out on the ice. From one perspective, that could certainly be received as a positive given his track record. Nonetheless, is he actually contributing enough of anything to continue finding his way into the lineup with any sort of regularity?
On the season, Carcillo has appeared in 30 of 43 games for the Blackhawks. Across those 30 games, he's been good for just seven points, including four goals and three assists. Not that he's really expected to provide much of anything on offense. The category that eyes typically find their way to immediately in relation to Carcillo is PIM, where he's tied with Andrew Shaw for the team lead with 30 penalty minutes on the year.
Carcillo's role on this team is an extremely specific one and one that isn't exactly a secret. In typical enforcer fashion, he's to keep up on the forecheck while essentially pissing off the opposition for his less than 10 minutes of hockey a night, while dropping the gloves when necessary. Is he really doing that, though? He's been less than noticeable on the ice and hasn't dropped the gloves but a couple of times. As irrelevant as his actual title is, he's somehow managed to make it an even more irrelevant one.
You can certainly respect the way that Carcillo has managed to keep things low key. At the same time, while he isn't hurting the Hawks in any way, he's also not adding anything to the mix at this point either. Sure, he's coming off a game in which he surpassed the 10 minute mark, but he's been lucky to get seven minutes in any given instance. On Dec. 29, he played 5:03 before appearing for just 3:38 in the Winter Classic.
It would at least appear that the arrival of Teuvo Teravainen has changed some things, as far as Carcillo serving as a regular in the lineup. Now Carcillo's left to battle with Joakim Nordstrom for that 12th forward spot each night. Unless, Q inexplicably scratches Teuvo in favor of Carcillo again at some point. With Teuvo's arrival, the impending return of Kris Versteeg in the next couple of weeks, and Nordstrom, a player who possesses much higher upside than Carcillo at a slightly higher dollar amount, room could be extremely limited. Carcillo could find himself squeezed out as a result.
Perhaps Carcillo really is the type of guy in the locker room that we've heard he is, and the Blackhawks genuinely like having him around. While that's all well and good, can you really rationalize keeping a guy around because he's a good guy in the room, while contributing virtually nothing on the ice? Again, he hasn't been good, but he hasn't been bad. He's just a body at this point. Unless other health issues arise as the season wears on, it'd be quite surprising to see Carcillo still donning a Blackhawks sweater by the time it's all said and done this year.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.