The Chicago Blackhawks are currently sitting last in the Discover NHL Central Division with a record of 0-3-1. Their only point on the season came in Tuesday night’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers. While in the midst of a rebuild, the Blackhawks are not expected to have success this year despite making the playoff bubble in 2020. Notable players missing from last years roster include:
- Corey Crawford- Left in free agency to the New Jersey Devils. (Retired before season started)
- Brandon Saad- Traded to Colorado Avalanche
- Olli Maata- Traded to Los Angeles Kings
- Drake Caggiula- Left in free agency- signed with Arizona Coyotes
- Slater Koekkoek- Left in free agency- signed with Edmonton Oilers
- Jonathan Toews- Expected to be out long term due to health issue
- Kirby Dach- Will miss the season due to wrist injury sustained at WJHC
The Blackhawks main weakness entering Friday night’s game is in net. Their goalie carousel this year consists of Malcom Subban, Collin Delia, and Kevin Lankinen. The three goalies have a combined goal against average of 4.94 and a combined save percentage of 84.8%. They rank dead last in the league. The defensive end in general is a struggle for Chicago. Sloppy breakouts and bad turnovers do not make it any easier on their goalies. Penalties are also hurting the team, with a lackluster 66.7% penalty killing percentage.
Players to Watch
Without Toews and Dach, there are not many players to be weary of on the Blackhawks roster. Three to look for in Fridays game are Kane, Debrincat, and Soderberg. Patrick Kane has been one of the best players in the league since he debuted in the 2007-2008 NHL season. He has incredible control of the puck, a tricky shot, and the ability to put on a burst of speed to get around defenders. Whenever he’s on the ice is a chance for the Blackhawks to get on the board. Alex Debrincat has played three full seasons with the Blackhawks. He surpassed the 40 goal plateau in his sophomore season when he scored 41 goals and added 35 assists. Career highs in both categories. Last season he struggled and had a major regression notching only 18 goals and 27 assists in the slightly shortened season. Regardless of last years numbers, his shot is dangerous and Debrincat knows how to get open and score goals. Carl Soderberg was signed by the Blackhawks just before Christmas and will suit up for his first game with his new team on Friday. Soderberg scored 17 goals for the Arizona Coyotes in the 2019-2020 season. I expect him to come out flying for the Blackhawks in the hopes of making a difference for his new team.