September is upon us and the Chicago Blackhawks will begin their third title defense of the decade in just a couple weeks. The team kicks off training camp at Compton Family Ice Arena on the campus of Notre Dame Sept. 18, putting us a step closer to the end of a whirlwind offseason. Over the next couple of weeks, Blackhawk Up will project the stats of each player on the roster, using their career averages and numbers from a year ago to analyze whether that player’s stats will be over or under the projected total.
The next player in our Chicago Blackhawks Over/Under series might be the most intriguing newcomer to watch this upcoming season. The 20-year-old Marko Dano has a ton of potential, and he was a big reason why Stan Bowman was comfortable with trading away winger Brandon Saad. Dano came to Chicago in the Saad deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets along with Artem Anisimov, Corey Tropp and former Blackhawk Jeremy Morin.
Dano and Teuvo Teravainen represent the young potential that can help make Blackhawks fans forget about the purge that was the 2015 offseason. Dano is classified as a right wing, but he can play center if needed.
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2014-15 Actual Stats: eight goals, 13 assists
It’s important to note that Dano racked up those 21 points in merely 35 games with the Blue Jackets. His plus-12 rating signifies that good things tend to happen when Dano is on the ice. He is an electric talent who can score with ease and facilitate for others.
2015-16 Projected Over/Under: 15 goals, 30 assists
Dano is a tricky player to project because of his relative inexperience. If his 21 points in 35 games were translated over a 82-game season, 45 points seems to be about where he’d end up. Dano has yet to play a full season in the NHL and will be adjusting to a new team in what should be his first full professional season. That isn’t an easy adjustment to make for anyone, even a player of Dano’s potential.
That being said, Dano enters a pretty good situation in Chicago. There are plenty of stars around him and a player in Teravainen with whom he can connect and create some spectacular play. Dano and Teravainen could develop into a tremendous combination on Chicago’s second or third line.
Dano has top-six potential, but he may be put on the third line by Joel Quenneville, who is hesitant to put his full confidence in youngsters. It might not happen this year, but Dano will quickly make fans forget about Saad with his incredible ability.
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