The Building Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are a historic franchise and one of the original six teams. Their rich history is extraordinary, especially when they were recently called “a dynasty” after winning the Stanley Cup three times in five years in 2010, 2013, 2015. Since then, the Hawks have gone through a re-tool with many of the cup-winning players either getting older, or traded due to salary cap implications. But the main core is still together and really trying hard to get this upcoming team back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford still remain on the team but aren’t getting any younger. These players are still very effective for setting examples for the younger players on the roster, but will need to step up even more if the Hawks would like to improve next season.

Blackhawks Prospect Pool

The Hawks had the third overall pick this past weekend at the 2019 NHL Draft and selected big centre-men Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL, which will be a very great player in the future for them. The young defense-men the Blackhawks have as prospects are on the rise and could be household names very soon. 

Forwards

  • Kirby Dach, Age 18, Drafted Third Overall in 2019 
  • MacKenzie Entwistle, Age 19, acquired from Arizona, Drafted 69th Overall in 2017
  • Mikael Hakkarainen, Age 21, Drafted 139th Overall in 2018
  • Alexandre Fortin, Age 22, signed by the Blackhawks in 2016
  • Aleksi Saarela, Age 22, acquired from Carolina, Drafted 89th Overall in 2015
  • Matthew Highmore, Age 23, signed by the Blackhawks in 2017
  • Dominik Kubalík, Age 23, signed by the Blackhawks in 2019

Defence 

  • Alex Vlasic, Age 18, Drafted 43rd Overall in 2019
  • Adam Boqvist, Age 18, Drafted Eighth Overall in 2018
  • Nicolas Beaudin, Age 19, Drafted 27th Overall in 2018
  • Henri Jokiharju, Age 20, Drafted 29th Overall in 2017
  • Lucas Carlsson, Age 21, Drafted 110th Overall in 2016

Goalies

  • Dominic Basse, Age 18, Drafted 167th Overall in 2019
  • Wouter Peeters, Age 20, Drafted 83rd Overall in 2016
  • Kevin Lankinen, Age 24, signed by Blackahwks in 2018

Next Season

The Blackhawks recently made some moves for Metropolitan Division defensemen Oli Maata and Calvin de Haan. Both D-men recorded exactly one goal and 13 assists for 14 points a piece last year and will be upgrades to the Blackhawks D-core right away. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith are a big part of the Hawks franchise but just haven’t been doing well in the offense department on the ice and that’s due to older age and the makeup of the team. Corey Crawford missed a lot of time last season with vertigo, which isn’t good news at all, and struggled putting up good numbers with a record of 14-18-5 and a 2.93 GAA and .908 SV%. Crawford is a UFA next year and I don’t see him as the Hawks starter anymore after next year, so they should start to look to fill that role in free agency or via trade. The goalie prospects the Blackhawks are just not ready to step in as of yet and Crawford cannot handle the starting job anymore, especially with the things surrounding him in his personal life.

On the forward side of things, The Blackhawks have a good two lines but, from there it’s not pretty and good enough to put consistent wins together. Patrick Kane is the Blackhawks number one threat for the opponents every night, whether it’s 5 on 5, 4 on 4, the power-play or in overtime. Kane had a career high in assists with 66, points with 110 and overtime goals with three. He’s deadly and the Hawks management staff has to either acquire or sign more offense this offseason to help take some of the load off their stars. Old Erie Otters teammates, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome found their stride with one another at even strength and on the power-play this past season. Strome put up career highs in every statistical category this season, except for plus /minus and DeBrincat put up 41 goals, 35 assists and 76 points, which were all career highs. 

The Blackhawks have around $11,936,500 million in cap space for the 2019-20 season and will need to fill some voids for the forwards group either through free agency, trade or in their depth chart, because they only have seven under an NHL contract. The main goal for the Chicago Blackhawks is not to make the playoffs next season, but develop their young guys and make sure their older players can set a great example for them for years to come.

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