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Home Arena: United Center – Chicago, IL., 19,717 capacity
Championships: Stanley Cups: 6, President’s Trophies: 2, Conference titles: 4, Division titles: 16
Owner: Wirtz Corporation
General Manager: Stan Bowman
Head Coach: Jeremy Colliton
Team Captain: Jonathan Toews
We’ve come a long way from the team that dominated the league only a few years ago. Last season left much to be desired for the Chicago Blackhawks as they finished second-to-last in the Central division with a record of 36-34-12. But there are some shining lights to the team. The big one to look at is that they can still put the puck in the net. Chicago finished last season within the top-ten when it came to goals scored – outscoring teams with the Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, and Colorado Avalanche. They were seventh-overall for even strength goals and 12th-overall when it came to power play goals. The Blackhawks rounded out the top-15 in the league with a 20.17 percent success rate on the powerplay. They were 12th for most shots and had the seventh-best shooting percentage in the league last season. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane also put up career numbers despite missing the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Luckily for general manager Stan Bowman, the Chicago Blackhawks had salary cap space for the first time in years and he put it to good use. When it comes to the offense, the Blackhaws brought back former Hawk Andrew Shaw, who had 47 points in 63 games last season with Montreal. He also picked up workhorse center Zack Smith. Spending his whole career to date with Ottawa, Smith put up 28 points last year. Both players add grit to a team that has lacked intensity over the past few seasons.
It was on the backend where Chicago suffered last season. Chalk it up to a new coach with new strategies to implement, the defense core for the Hawks just couldn’t keep it together last season. The Blackhawks allowed the second-most goals against last season behind only the last-place Ottawa Senators. They also allowed the most power play goals against in the entire league. They allowed the second-most shots against as well.
It will be interesting to see if a new strategy system is put in place for Chicago’s defense next season. No matter how good individual players are, it all comes down to team strategy. However, there are some things to look forward to next season – namely some new additions to the team’s blue line. The Chicago Blackhawks picked up both Olli Maatta from Pittsburgh and Calvin de Haan from Carolina. Maatta had 14 points last season but missed a number of games with injuries. De Haan also finished last season with 14 points. Both of these new additions are specifically known for their strong play on the penalty kill, which, as mentioned earlier, is in desperate need of improvement. Luckily, the Blackhawks also have many highly-touted prospects itching for their chance as well. Should injuries come in to play, Chicago will have contingencies in place.
With the defense playing as poorly as they did, it’s no surprise that the goaltending also suffered last season. Corey Crawford returned from a concussion only to suffer another one and backup goalie Cam Ward eventually got outplayed and replaced by Collin Delia. The team combined for only two shutouts last season and a .898 save percentage.
With that said, one team’s loss is another team’s gain. It came as somewhat as a surprise to most, including Robin Lehner himself, but Lehner and the New York Islanders were unable to come to terms on a new contract this offseason. The Blackhawks locked up last year’s Bill Masterton and William Jennings trophy winner who finished last season with a .930 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.13. The team now boasts two veteran, starting-quality goaltenders.
There are many to watch next season as Toews and Kane always put on a show and Dylan Strome continues to improve his game but it’s Kirby Dach who looks most interesting. Drafted by the Blackhawks third-overall during this year’s draft, Dach has the potential to not only make the team as a rookie this upcoming season but also could find himself in the run for the Calder trophy. The 18-year-old had 73 points in 62 games with the Winnipeg Blades last year.
The Chicago Blackhawks sit at a +4000 to win the Stanley Cup in 2020. Their O/U for regular season points total sits at 90.5. They are +200 to make the playoffs and -250 to miss. Here you’ll find the odds from 888Sport NJ.
|Sportsbook||Over 90.5||Under 90.5|
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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL.
Email: [email protected]More info on Ryan Bristlon
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