Jun 3, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks centerBrad Richards
(91) skates with the puck during the first period in game one of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Richards. I fell in love with this man more and more as the season progressed. He’s been there and done that, and he knew what his role was. And that was to support the core and contribute his strengths in order to win the Cup. Richy had 3 goals and 11 assists for 14 points in the playoffs, and was very strong on the dot. It also sounds like he’s using all his connections to get back into a Chicago Blackhawks uniform next year.
Patrick Kane. Kaner might have struggled to contribute during the Tampa Bay series. But he did punctuate things by scoring the insurance goal to win it all in Game 6. And let’s not forget that Kane was the leader during the playoffs with the most goals (11), and the most points (23). Yeah, I’m ok with paying him $10.5 million next year.
Patrick Sharp. Ah, how bittersweet it is. Sharpie has the best trade value going and will probably not be a Chicago Blackhawk next year. Yet he is part of the core, and was on the team for all three recent Stanley Cups. It will be a shame to see him go, and I for one will be cheering for him wherever he ends up (unless it’s against the Hawks).
Antoine Vermette. Just like with Brad Richards, this one grew on me as time went by. Vermy was a great presence at third line center. He struggled at first, but then found his way. He contributed greatly in the faceoff circle, and ended up with 4 goals and 3 assists during the playoffs. And his French accent and smile sure doesn’t hurt his cause.
Teuvo Teravainen. Can you say best rookie of the playoffs? Wow, this kid looked great under pressure! 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points. My favorite was his power play goal off a back and forth from Marian Hossa. More of that please! Is it October yet?!
Kris Versteeg. First things first, that was quite the classy move by Kris Versteeg and the entire Blackhawks organization to reward the late Clint Reif’s son with the championship belt. Best of luck to the family, and I know the Blackhawks will be looking out for them.
You gotta hand it to Steeger for hanging in there. He lost out to Bryan Bickell for most of the playoffs, but then was a strong contributor on the third line during the Tampa Bay series. He did it all so he could sing again at the rally.
Andrew Desjardins. Desjardins was the second add-on player at the trade deadline behind Antoine Vermette. Nobody thought much of it, except to be upset that fan favorite Ben Smith was gone. Well, Desi has done a great job at his role, and that is to be strong on the shutdown fourth line. Could Ben Smith have done the same great job? Probably, but Desjardins was cheaper, and we can’t hold this against him. I would be happy to see Desi back again next year.