Sep 25, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad (5) celebrates with teammate Trevor Daley (6) after teammate Chicago Blackhawks forward Ryan Garbutt (28) scored a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
I know it doesn’t count anymore, because the real deal starts this coming Wednesday. But the Chicago Blackhawks did have a pretty successful preseason. They won 4 of their 6 contests, with the 2 losses being away games where the scrubs were fighting it out for roster spots. This being the first preseason where all the games were televised, we as fans had the unique opportunity to gain further perspective on how the regular season might unfold. Below are 5 things I gleaned from the preseason that should carry over to the regular season.
5. Panarin showed he should be on the team. Artemi Panarin was struggling with an upper body injury that kept him out of preseason action until the final game this past Saturday night. He had a great debut, with 2 primary assists. Even though it was a very small sample size, Panarin looked comfortable on the ice, showing some great stick-handling skills that thrilled the crowd. For being his first game with linemates Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, he seemed calm, cool, and collected; and the three already appeared to have great chemistry.
Earlier last week, it was announced that Marko Dano, formerly of the Columbus Blue Jackets, was sent down to the Rockford IceHogs. This came as quite the surprise to fans, as Dano was the star of training camp, and played on the top line alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. When asked about him being sent down, Coach Quenneville said, “Don’t want to give anyone any opportunities. You have to earn it”. So why does Panarin, who didn’t even play in the preseason until the last game, get to stay with the Blackhawks?
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Well, I think he can partially thank his agent for that one. It’s written into Panarin’s contract that if he doesn’t play at the NHL level, he can go back to the KHL at any time. So the Blackhawks don’t really have the option of easing him in. Panarin doesn’t have to suffer the fate of Teuvo Teravainen from last year, and now Marko Dano.
But even without that clause in his contract, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Panarin is right where he should be. Even if you’ve already seen this video, watch it again and tell me if you agree.
Next: What's Our Next Thought About The Preseason?
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