March 3, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalieCorey Crawford
(50) before the game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
5. Corey Crawford- What? why would I pick Crawford when he’s been playing at a high level. The last two games to start, which he got pulled and then he gave up 2 goals in 2 periods in a relief mode. No matter what the Hawks do on the offensive end, and in front of him defensively a Stanley Cup run revolves around Crawford and his ability not to allow the soft goals and make the big stop when needed. To be honest Crawford’s season will be judged as a success or failure by where the Hawks finish when the playoffs are over.
Jan 30, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland (36) against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
4. Dave Bolland– Bolland has 5 goals and 6 assists but he has to improve at the faceoff circle as a #2 center! Bolland like most Blackhawks not named Toews is struggling at faceoffs with Bolland going 149wins and 179 losses for 45 percent clip. Bolland is playing with Patrick Kane but if he can’t win faceoffs the line does too much work trying to win back the puck instead of playing on the offensive end of the ice. Bolland is the only regular with a minus rating so the 2nd half will be huge for Bolland to prove his promotion to the 2nd line was good for the entire season.
Feb. 7, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy (8) catches the puck with his skate during the second period against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
3. Nick Leddy– Leddy’s play has been solid all season long but now he’s gaining important minutes on special units like the 2nd power play pairing. Leddy has great speed and a good shot that can be very effective on the power play. The 2nd half of the season will be huge for Leddy to get big time minutes during the playoffs. Leddy is one of the most improved players in the first half now he needs to cap off the season with a strong second half!
March 3, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena. Chicago won 2-1 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
2. Brandon Saad– Saad keeps getting more ice time on special team like Leddy. Saad has made his mark after a slow start on the scoresheet, his hard work on the first line has paid off with 4 goals and 7 assists. Saad now needs to carry over his growing confidence and skill to a strong 2nd half showing before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin. Saad is the only true rookie on the team yet his play in the 2nd half will have a big outcome on how the Hawks are playing when the playoffs begin.
Feb 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) reacts to scoring the game winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the shootout at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in the shootout. The Blackhawks tied an NHL record for scoring at least one point in 16 consecutive games to open a season. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
1. Andrew Shaw– The ShawFacts are long gone but Shaw is playing a major role on the Hawks powerplay. Shaw is starting to fulfill his new role as the guy in front of the net who gets beat up trying to tip in shots and rebounds. The Hawks powerplay has been one of the weaker links since the Stanley Cup run and when the games get tighter the powerplay will be even more important so Shaw’s needs to continue to step up his play,
Who are your top 5 Hawks that need to have a strong 2nd half?
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