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Chicago Blackhawks: 9 Predictions For 2015-16

By Andrew Facemyer

The Chicago Blackhawks are on the verge of beginning one of their most interesting seasons in recent memory. With Marko Dano now in Rockford and Bryan Bickell being waived, even yesterday — less than a week before opening night — certainly held some surprises for us all. With the ‘Hawks only possessing 12 forwards (barring a potential Daniel Paille signing or some other move), this season just keeps becoming more and more intriguing. Let’s take a look at some things that may or may not happen this season regarding the ’Hawks.

1. Patrick Kane Plays All 82 Games (Plus The Postseason) With Chicago

We all have mixed feelings about Kane’s current situation. Some feel he is no longer worth the trouble while some are sticking with him through thick and thin. Given how his current situation has played out recently, you can’t help but think that he will come out okay. By allowing him to attend training camp against their wishes, the front office has followed the collective bargaining agreement to a T, and they wouldn’t be allowed to do anything but trade him if he comes out okay. And aren’t they basically invested at this point?

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2. Marian Hossa Scores His 500th Career Goal

Hossa is currently sitting pretty at 486 career goals, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. He continues to dominate at both ends of the ice, and we should see him score No. 500 somewhere around midway through the season. It should be a nice feather in the cap of a player who has had one hell of a career.

3. Trevor Daley Will Not Work

Daley is not a bad player by any means. Given the ‘Hawks’ current defensive situation, he is just not a good fit in this system. The team does not need offensive prowess on the blue line right now. After Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, the Blackhawks have absolutely no one that they can trust on the blue line defensively. Daley likes to wander when the puck is in the offensive zone which is going to lead to more odd-man rushes than the ‘Hawks can afford. If he is not traded toward the trade deadline, I think he will be traded next offseason.

4. Artemi Panarin Scores 30 Goals

Before today’s festivities, this would’ve been Dano. I feel both of these players have a very high ceiling, and given their spots in the lineup, they are set up to flourish. With Panarin playing with Artem Anisimov and Kane, this youngster is certainly going to get some quality scoring chances. We all know Kane loves to pass the puck and Anisimov’s size puts him right in front of the goalie, so we should be expecting big things from the rookie this season.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

5. Corey Crawford Will Not Lose His Job

The haters will cease to exist. After his second William M. Jennings trophy and second Stanley Cup, critics still refuse to give Crawford the credit he deserves. Not only is he one of the most underrated players on this team, but he is one of the most underrated players in the league. He has continued time and time again to be the unsung hero of this team, and he will continue to do so moving forward.

6. Duncan Keith Will Win A Third Norris Trophy

Keith is coming into this season at about as high of a point as a player can. He played the best hockey of his career and showed us that he is the best defenseman in the world last season. His consistency is just unmatched throughout the league at any position. After what he did this postseason, I think his only competition anymore is Erik Karlsson, so it should be nice to see these two duke it out.

7. The Powerplay Will Not Improve

The Chicago Blackhawks powerplay is an enigma. With some of the best talent in the league, they have continued to stutter on the man-advantage time and time again. They all just want to pass the puck to each other while no one wants to pull the trigger. There has been no sign of this changing. With some key spots to fill on the two units, we can only hope guys like Teuvo Teravainen, Panarin or maybe even Kyle Baun can contribute and change this tendency.

8. Stan Bowman Will Make Another Salary Cap Move

Stan knows that the next offseason may not be as hard as this one, but he knows that he can make it a lot easier on himself right now. Whether it is Daley or someone else we’re not expecting, someone will be moved. Stan has always been known to shock us, and he will never slow down.

9. Jonathan Toews and Hossa Will Not Have A Consistent Left Wing

Before today, I wouldn’t have thought this. It seemed as though Dano had earned himself not only a roster spot but a spot on the first line. Apparently, Coach Q still thinks he has some learning to do. Early reports have Andrew Shaw on the first line with Toews and Hossa. This may not be the worst move in the world, but Shaw has proven that he is not a not a top-six forward. He is a bottom-six forward whose offensive performance was severely lacking in the second half of last season. Hopefully Dano won’t spend too long in Rockford, but even when he comes back up, there is no guarantee that he’ll be thrown into that first line.

So, there you have it. We have an intriguing season ahead of us, and it should be a great one to watch. Hopefully, the ‘Hawks can surprise us all again.

Next: Baun, Hinostroza Offer Bright Future

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