Chicago Blackhawks Team Preview

2019-20 Record: 32-30-8 (.514%, 72 pts) — 7th in Central Division

Playoffs:  12th seed in Stanley Cup Qualifiers

The Chicago Blackhawks enter the Qualifiers as the 12 seed in the Western Conference and will take on the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-five series.

Chicago would struggle during the season with consistency issues.  The Blackhawks would win a season-high five straight contests from January 11-19.  After that, they would only win three out of their next 13 contests (3-8-2).  They would follow that by winning five out of their last seven before the NHL paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.

The Blackhawks are going to rely on their experienced veterans, Ds Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, but Seabrook’s status for the Qualifier is uncertain, and Fs Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (all three won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015).  Goaltender Corey Crawford and F Brandon Saad would also go on to win the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015.  D Olli Maatta would win the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017.  F Andrew Shaw (Cup winner in 2013 and 2015), much like Seabrook, is uncertain for Training Camp due to an injury.

Player to Watch:

F Patrick Kane:  Kane led the Blackhawks in scoring with 84 points (33G, 51A) in 70 games and hit the 1,000 NHL career-point mark in Chicago’s 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 19th.  Kane had a rather fast start to the season with eight points (3G, 5A) in the team’s first six contests.

If Kane can have a hot start in the qualifier round, Chicago will make to the postseason for the first time in three seasons.  They would later be eliminated by the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round.

Question Mark:

Corey Crawford.  Can Crawford return to form?  Crawford started the final ten games of the season and would go 6-4-0 after Chicago traded G Robin Kehner to Vegas on February 24th.  Crawford (16-20-3, 2.77 GAA, .917 SV%) in 40 contests (39 starts).  Backup goaltender Malcolm Subban has never played in a NHL playoff contest so Chicago will depend on Crawford to have a strong showing.

Injury Updates:

Defenceman Adam Boqvist is expected to be ready for camp after suffering a concussion in the team’s final contest before the pause due to Boqvist being in the NHL’s concussion protocol.

Forward Drake Caggiula is expected to be ready for camp after suffering a right hand injury sustained in a contest on March 8th against the St. Louis Blues.

Defenceman Calvin de Haan is expected to be ready after having right shoulder surgery on December 27th.

Forward Andrew Shaw is uncertain for camp with a concussion, in which he missed Chicago’s final 44 games of the season.

Defenceman Brent Seabrook is uncertain after having three different surgeries (right shoulder on December 27th, left hip in January, and right hip on February 6th)

Forward Zach Smith is uncertain for camp due to a back surgery on March 6th.

Fresh Face:

Defenceman Dennis Gilbert may get a great look during camp, especially if de Haan has not fully recovered from his injury.  Gilbert has three points (1G, 2A) and 38 PIMs in 21 contests this season.

Projected Chicago Lineup:

Alex DeBrincat — Jonathan Toews — Brandon Saad

Dominik Kubalik — Dylan Strome — Patrick Kane

Matthew Highmore — Kirby Dach — Drake Caggiula

Alex Nylander — David Kampf — Ryan Carpenter

Duncan Keith — Adam Boqvist

Connor Murphy — Calvin de Haan

Olli Maatta — Slater Koekkoek

Corey Crawford

Malcolm Subban


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