What a month for Drake Caggiula.
The guy gets traded from Edmonton to the Blackhawks, then spends a week in limbo waiting for his work visa and now he’s playing on the top line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Sound unbelievable? It does to Caggiula.
“It’s a pretty cool thing,” he said. “I grew up idolizing them. The biggest reason why I went to North Dakota was because of Jonny Toews, and I used to watch Patty Kane’s highlights on YouTube, then go in my basement and try to copy them.
“It’s pretty special to come to the room and see that your name’s beside theirs, but you’ve gotta just worry about playing hockey. You can’t get caught up in who you’re playing with and you’ve just gotta make sure you play your game.”
Perhaps anyone could be the third guy on a Kane-Toews line, but Caggiula was more than merely an anonymous left wing in Sunday’s win over the Capitals. He fit in well with the Hawks’ stars and could get even better as he gets used to playing with them.
Toews and Kane praised Caggiula for keeping up with them, but pointed out that he doesn’t need to defer. Toews implored him to, “be a little bit more selfish… [and] don’t hesitate to shoot the puck,” which is probably something he needed to hear playing on a line with two future Hall of Famers.
“You come to the rink and you see your number next to two Blackhawks legends… but at the same time you’ve just got to remember you’re playing hockey, you’re on the same team and you have a job to do,” Caggiula said. “You can’t get caught up in that star-struck moment. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing what you’re capable of doing.”
Caggiula didn’t have a point — Kane and Toews hogged them all by putting up five apiece — but he did check in at plus-3 for his 16:40 of ice time and likely earned the right to stay on that line for tonight’s home game against the Islanders.
“I thought he did a lot of good things,” Kane said. “He won a lot of 50-50 pucks for us and he had some chances as well to get on the scorer’s sheet.
“You look at my first goal, he’s right there in front of the net, puts a perfect screen. Toewser’s first goal, he’s in front of the net… He played really well defensively, good along the boards.”