Over the years, the NHL has been a league predicated on constant evolution. What once was a game based on size and physicality has evolved into a game where speed and skill are nothing but crucial.
The fourth line is no exception. Teams have been phasing out the heavyweight goons and less-skilled players on the fourth line in favor of skilled role-players, with an emphasis on two-way play. The Chicago Blackhawks have been lauded for their model of a skilled fourth line over the past several seasons, and the unit of Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw were helpful in their run to last year's Stanley Cup.