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Catch up on their summer moves and the issues

 
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Dogcat250
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:51 pm    Post subject: Catch up on their summer moves and the issues Reply with quote

With the NHL regular season right around the corner, TSN.ca profiles each team leading up to puck drop. Next up is the Chicago Blackhawks, who fell one goal short of another trip to the Stanley Cup Final last season. Catch up on their summer moves and the issues they face this season, as well as Craig Buttons analysis of their top prospect and an analytical breakdown by TSNs Scott Cullen. Division: Central GM: Stan Bowman Head Coach: Joel Quenneville 2013-14: 46-21-15 (3rd in Central) Playoffs:Lost in Conference Final Goals For: 261 (2nd) Goals Against: 212 (12th) PP: 19.5% (10th) PK:81.4% (19th) That was Then: Last seasons Blackhawks thought they were primed to become the leagues first repeat champions in a over a decade-and-a-half in claiming their third Stanley Cup in five seasons. Surely, that would warrant "dynasty" talk, no? Well, that debate, though it would have been a good one, never came to pass. The Blackhawks fell short in their quest, cruelly losing in overtime in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals to the eventual Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings on Alec Martinez series-ender. Still, the fact that the Blackhawks came so close yet again will only swell the teams desire to again reach the summit. Last season ended up being more difficult, perhaps, than the Blackhawks had expected, thanks to increased competition in the division. A year removed from the Presidents Trophy (in a shortened season), the team finished third in the Central behind the surprising Colorado Avalanche and the improved St. Louis Blues. But the Hawks got the last laugh, outlasting both of their divisional rivals come playoff time, including dispatching the Blues in the first round of the playoffs, taking four straight after falling behind in the series 2-0. As is expected with great teams, the Blackhawks best players played like their best players. Duncan Keith had, perhaps, what was his finest season as a pro, staking a claim for the mantle of best defenceman in the NHL and claiming a second Norris Trophy. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa each contributed 30-goal seasons. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane again put up the type of performances youd expect from two elite young players. At 26 and 25, respectively, its still very possible that we have yet to see the best yet from either. Perhaps, the biggest instance of a player proving his mettle came from goaltender Corey Crawford. Suggested more than a few times over the past several seasons that hes more a product of the Blackhawks success than a contributor to it, Crawford proved his critics wrong last season. The 29-year-old started a career-high 59 games and posted a 2.26 goals against average (eighth in the NHL) and 32 wins (10th). Scott Cullens Analytics Blackhawks 2013-14 stats by Quarter Games GPG GAA SH% SV% SAF% PTS% 1-20 3.60 3.20 9.3% .913 57.0% .750 21-41 3.90 2.43 10.6% .914 56.1% .738 42-62 2.57 2.29 7.4% .928 54.6% .595 63-82 2.50 2.70 6.4% .903 55.4% .525 NHL AVG 2.67 2.67 7.8% .922 50.0% .562 Key: GPG= goals per game, GAA= goals-against per game, SH%= even-strength shooting percentage, SV%= even-strength save percentage, SAF%= score-adjusted Fenwick percentage (differential of shot attempts faced vs. shot attempts, excluding blocked shots, adjusted for game score), PTS%= percentage of available points. Analysis: Games 1-20: Dominant puck possession and finishing overpowered less-than-stellar goaltending as Blackhawks came out of the gate strong. Games 21-41: Ridiculous, and unsustainable, shooting percentage, during a stretch in which Blackhawks had nine wins by at least three goals. Games 42-62: Decline started, even with a boost in goaltending, as possession dropped a little and scoring pace slowed significantly. Games 63-82: Struggled late in the year, with below-average percentages, but strong possession still made them competitive. Key 2014 Additions: C Brad Richards Key 2014 Subtractions: LW Brandon Bollig, C Michal Handzus, G Nikolai Khabibulin This is Now: The team you saw last year is almost identical to this years with the added security that dual franchise players, Toews and Kane, are sticking around for the long term. Set to become free agents after this coming season, the pair signed identical eight-year, $84 million deals over the summer. Their annual average salary of $10.5 million per year is the highest current salary in the league, but its hard to argue that the pair isnt fairly compensated. The one key difference for the team comes down the middle. With Michal Handzus departing, the Hawks brought aboard veteran centre Brad Richards to take his place in the top nine. A Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning and fresh off of an appearance in last seasons Final with the New York Rangers, Richards, for the first time in his career, transitions into the role of a complementary piece. Gone are the pressures of a nine-year, $58.5 million contract to live up to, the 34-year-old comes to the Blackhawks at a modest $2 million salary and could slot in to either second or third-line duty, behind Toews and Andrew Shaw. No matter the role, Richards should have the chance to line with up some talented linemates, in the likes of Hossa, Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad. If there is some cause for concern, its with the clubs final defensive pairing. Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya represent elite to above-average NHL defencemen. The issue was with that final defenceman. Sheldon Brookbank, Mike Kostka and David Rundblad all had opportunities to claim a regular role, but none did and none is back. The likely candidates to get that chance this season are Kyle Cumiskey, returning from the NHL after two seasons in the SEL with Modo, 2011 second-round pick Adam Clendening or Klas Dahlbeck, a third-rounder also in 2011. DEPTH CHART Forwards Left Wing Centre Right Wing Patrick Sharp Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa Brandon Saad Brad Richards Patrick Kane Bryan Bickell Andrew Shaw Kris Versteeg Jeremy Morin Marcus Kruger Ben Smith Peter Regin Teuvo Teravainen Joakim Nordstrom Brandon Mashinter Mark McNeill Ryan Hartman Defence Left Right Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook Niklas Hjalmarsson Johnny Oduya Nick Leddy Michal Rozsival David Rundblad Adam Clendening Stephen Johns Klas Dahlbeck Goaltenders Corey Crawford Antti Raanta Michael Leighton TSN Director of Scouting Craig Buttons Top Prospect: Teuvo Teravainen has the rare gift of 360 degree vision. Seeing all possibilities is one thing when it comes to play making but he has the ability to select the play that is most threatening to an opponent. At the same time he has a precision that makes it very difficult to deter him. With he and Jonathan Toews, the Hawks have the potential for a lethal one-two center combination that will keep them contending for Stanley Cups for years. Fantasy - Scott Cullens Player to Watch Brad Richards On one hand, its easy to see that there has been a decline in 34-year-old Brad Richards production in recent seasons, the last two producing the lowest points-per-game of his career, yet he still finished with 51 points for the Rangers last season. Moving to Chicago, Richards is looking at an excellent opportunity. If, as planned, he has Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad on his wings, thats an upgrade for Richards over his most common linemates in New York and its an upgrade for those wingers, who were often skating with Michal Handzus. 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