Three Bold Predictions for the Blackhawks Next Season

By Chris Schubert

Jun 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) shoots the puck wide of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the first period in game seven of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only two days into August, yet hockey fever is beginning to spread. That being said, here are three bold predictions for the Blackhawks in the 2014-2015 season. I hope these predictions are bold enough for all you Hawks fans out there.

In no particular order.

1) Brad Richards will have at least 25 goals and 40 assists as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks

Now Brad Richards has been known as a superstar player in the past during his time in Dallas and New York, but over the course of the last couple of seasons his play has diminished. The Rangers used a compliance buyout on Richards, who then went and signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Blackhawks. Richards struggled in the playoffs for the Rangers and wasn’t the same player that he was when he was brought to NY. But now, with better lineups and a different role, Richards seems poised to thrive and be a key contributor to the Blackhawks next season. A team with already good depth can cash-in even more if Richards plays well, and all signs point to that being possible.

2) Patrick Kane will score 100 points

Yes this is bold, but that’s the point. Patrick Kane’s career high in points is 88 from back in 2009-2010. Over the past season and a half, Kane’s game has been taken to another level that makes him more unstoppable than he already was. Couple that with new linemate Brad Richards (who is much better than Michal Handzus) and his new long-term contract and Kane is poised to breakout and have his best season yet. And if he does that, a Hart Trophy will also await him.

3) Corey Crawford will finally get some Vezina love

It’s been a struggle for Corey Crawford to be recognized as a top-tier goaltender in this league, which he is. His playoff numbers over the past two seasons can be matched-up against any of the so-called elite goaltenders in the league.  This season, Crawford will elevate his game again and finally be given the credit he deserves. Crawford missed some time last season with an injury, so staying healthy will only help bolster his case even more. If he can put up similar numbers to last season (.914 SV % and 2.26 GAA), it will be three straight years where Crawford will find himself near the top of those leaderboards. And that should lead to him getting more love as a top-tier goaltender in this league.