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2018-2019 NHL Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

Another down year as Chicago takes a few years away from dominating year in and year out.

Chicago Blackhawks v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Sixth up are the Chicago Blackhawks (80thseason in the NHL) who missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons (a time frame which included 3 Stanley Cup victories). It looked like their glory days may be past them and an experienced aged roster is slowing down.

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 25th
Goals for Rank: 22nd
Goals against Rank: 24th
PP Rank: 28th
PK Rank: 20th

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 26th
Western Conference Standings: 13th
Central Division Standings: 6th
Coach: Joel Quenneville (all time – 1,621-884-526-77; Chicago – 782-446-243)

Overview:

I believe in Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford and Joel Quenneville. Beyond that a lot of question marks come to mind. A few include: Can Nick Schmaltz, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad or Artem Anisimov make a meaningful step forward to help with offensive production. After a time where Jonathan Toews had points 65+ in five of the first eight years of his career he’s now seen declines in both goals, points, shooting percentage, shorthanded points and game winning goals (as well as his plus minus) the last 3 years, will he continue to decline? On defense, top line Duncan Keith is now 35, Brent Seabrook is now 33, Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy combined for 30 points last year (and a combined -2). They aren’t the worst situations but it’s not the commanding presence it was a few years ago and the sizeable prospects that are on the verge don’t look to be ready just yet. In net Corey has been a true north with a sixth straight year of sub 2.6 GAA and .915+ Sv percentage. His mysterious head injury clouds much of that as Anton Forsberg did his best to fill in (as Cam Ward may also do) but neither is even close to what Corey Crawford is. It sounds like Corey might be out for the start of 2018 season which would be a huge hit to the teams chances.

Major Additions:

Cam Ward, Chris Kunitz

Major Subtractions:

Anthony Duclair, Patrick Sharp

Prospects and Picks:

-Adam Boqvist. Quite a few analysts had him projected as the 2nd best defenseman in the 2018 draft given his immense offensive upside. He was compared to Erik Karlsson given his ability to carry the puck up ice and his strong puck handling in the offensive zone coupled with his knack for scoring.

-Alexandre Fortin. Almost a member of the team two years ago, Alexandre has shown that he is more than a QMJHL asset. After scoring a point per game in 2016-2017, he moved up to the Rockford IceHogs last year scoring 21 points in 53 games. He won’t be a top 6 forward but he will likely be a good role player on the 3rd or 4th line this year.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Alex DeBrincat. I say this name with an asterisk. I don’t see anyone doing something we haven’t already seen in the 2017-2018 season. Alex scored 28 goals but he scored at a 15% percentage. He could see more shots and more assists if he sits on a top line with Patrick Kane (not to mention more time on ice) but I don’t think he goes too much higher than 55 points. There is an offchance he goes off even more, he did register 100 point seasons in the OHL; however, it’s not uncommon for players to do that only to sit in the 50 point range in the NHL (Kevin LeBanc, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Max Domi, Travis Konecny etc..) Nick Schmaltz scored at almost 18% which won’t be replicated and will likely sit in the 50 point range again.

Cap Situation:

$73MM Spent; $5.8M in Cap room; 20 players signed; average team age 27

Poll

Does anyone on the team NOT named Patrick Kane get to 60 points?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    No, all are below 60 points like last year
    (6 votes)
  • 66%
    Yes, another player gets to 60 points
    (12 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now