Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Divisional Preview: Chicago Blackhawks
The last time we saw the Chicago Blackhawks, who skated off the ice Scottrade Center after being defeated by the St. Louis Blues in a series of seven exciting game. It was a bitter defeat for the Hawks as they settled for another career Stanley Cup. Patrick Kane was having one of the best seasons of a player born in the United States had in a long time. Chicago also had the eventual Rookie of the Year in Artemi Panarin jERSEY. But all in vain and now her window can be closed.
The central division was one of the strongest in the league and Chicago was a major part in that. Chicago finished third in the division, even after accumulating 103 points. The top three teams of the Conference of All came from the plant. They played well on the road as they did at home, compiling a 47-25-9 record.
They have players like Kane, Panarin, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook allowed Chicago to have one of the power games in the league again. Its success rate of 22.6% placed second in the league. Surprisingly, where everything came crashing down was in their penalty killing. The Hawks finished 22nd in the league with a 80.3% kill rate.
Chicago does not have two of the best strikers in the league last year. Kane became the first American-born player to win the scoring title with 106 points. His linemate Panarin, who was second on the team in scoring with 77 points, won the Rookie of the Year in a very crowded field. Kane also won the MVP of his fellow players and the league.
Chicago marker also extended outside the two best strikers. Kane JERSEY, Panarin, Toews, Seabrook, Anisimov, Teräväinen, Shaw and Hossa were all double digit scorers.
In goal Corey Crawford rebounded from his shaky postseason in 2015 to publish a record of 35-18-5 with 2.37 GAA and one 0.924 save percentage. His strong play earned a place in Crawford Team Canada World Cup, his first in his career.
Unfortunately, all that does not matter, as we enter a new season and Chicago has once again apparently taken a step back due to the demands of the contract. Bryan Bickell, Andrew Ladd, Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teräväinen were sent through trades or agency feee and the "big" free agent signing was former Hawk Brian Campbell.
The first two lines are still going to be intact and still going to be a team that depends on a lot of points, but the same problem raised its head in the playoffs will likely be chasing him to Chicago this year. Not having a third or fourth line as in previous years is going to hurt. Chicago will launch Vicente Hinostrova, Marcus Kruger, Ryan Hartman, Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen and Jordan Tootoo as their lower six forwards. That does not instill fear like having Shaw or Ladd or even Bickell in those bottom lines as in previous years.
Chicago may be reloading on the fly, but because of their writing ability that always seem to find someone to plug into the lineup. This year was no exception as Alex Debrincat project them fell in the second round and could probably be the next Panarin.
This could be a bad year for the Hawks, but I've learned not to count out. They seem to have a cycle of its seasons but this year they did not win the Cup before sending out parts. Therefore Queneville success as Joel has had as a coach, it is possible that a slow start or another quick playoff ouster would cost him his job? I personally do not see that happening, but how Chicago fans feel?
Chicago still has two main lines scare anyone, two defensive pairings potentially off and a world-class goalkeeper and so it should not be taken lightly. How are you going to pile in the center of this year? Back next week for our predictions.
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