Monday, September 10, 2018

Chicago Blackhawks 2018-19 season preview



            As their core ages, and their depth gets even worse, the Chicago Blackhawks are no longer the team they used to be. They aren't even playoff contenders. Before we look into the team, let's look at some fast facts for the Blackhawks.

Head Coach: Joel Quenneville
General Manager: Stan Bowman
Arena: United Center
AHL Affiliate: Rockford Icehogs
2017-18 record: 33-39-10 (76 points)
2017-18 placement: 7th
Division: Central
2017-18 goals leader: Alex DeBrincat (28)
2017-18 assists leader: Patrick Kane (49)
2017-18 points leader: Patrick Kane (76)
2017-18 points leader (defenseman): Duncan Keith (32)
Captain: Jonathan Toews
Assistant Captains: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook
2018 first round pick: Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin

Offseason additions: Cam Ward, Brandon Manning, Chris Kunitz, Marcus Kruger, Jordan Schroeder.

Offseason subtractions: Patrick Sharp, Cody Franson, Jeff Glass, Lance Bouma, Anthony Duclair, Tomas Jurco, Vinnie Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle, Marian Hossa.

Forwards: Jonathan Toews is still a 50 point scorer, but is now better defensively than offensively. Patrick Kane is still a superstar, and Alex DeBrincat had a promising rookie year, along with Nick Schmaltz. Dylan Sikura and Victor Ejdsell are now those two, looking for good rookie seasons. Artem Ansimov, Chris Kunitz, Marcus Kruger and Jordan Schroeder are veterans that can chip in a little bit.

Forward lines:

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Alex DeBrincat
Nick Schmaltz - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Chris Kunitz - Marcus Kruger - Dylan Sikura
Jordan Schroeder - Victor Ejdsell - John Hayden

Defenseman: Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are aging, and overpaid. Connor Murphy is also overpaid. Jan Rutta and Gustav Forsling are their best hopes for the season, and that isn't a good thing.

Defensive pairs:

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Brandon Manning - Connor Murphy
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta
Other: Erik Gustafsson

Goaltending: When healthy, Corey Crawford is a great goalie. Unfortunately, that seems to never be the case. Cam Ward was brought in, and he's not a bad backup. Neither is Anton Forsberg, the third goalie. If Crawford is healthy, this will be their strengh.

Goalie alignment:

Corey Crawford
Cam Ward
Anton Forsberg
Other: JF Berube

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Patrick Kane
Jonathan Toews
Alex Debrincat
Brandon Saad
Nick Schmaltz

Playoffs: No
Divison spot: 7th

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