As much as most of us can't stand Abdelkader being in the top 6, I really think it's a total shift in the NHL in general. Teams are rolling out top 9's now. Look around at the lines for other teams. Anaheim uses Matt Beleskey on their 2nd line, and they used Pat Maroon on their top line last season. Los Angeles has Tanner Pearson on the 2nd, while Justin Williams (who won the Conn Smythe) is on their 3rd line. Chicago's rolling out a Saad-Shaw-Kane line.
Is Abdelkader better or worse than some of those guys? I don't know, and I don't like him on that line, flat out. I do know that there's a shift in how teams are rolling out scoring lines. Teams aren't top heavy anymore - they're trying to run three balanced scoring lines. For better or worse, Abs is going to stay in that top 9 somewhere. Detroit's going to utilize guys like he and Helm to fill in spots on line where they battle for pucks and play in front of the net.
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