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Chicago Blackhawks: Best/Worst Case Scenarios Without Duncan Keith

By Keith Schultz
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After almost 24 hours of the news that Duncan Keith will be out 4-6 weeks after having successful surgery to have digested,  let’s take a quick look at the best and worst case scenarios that could happen to the Chicago Blackhawks between now and Thanksgiving.

Best Case Record– If you decide to say Keith is going to miss 16 games it puts him out until the circus trip which is usually when the Chicago Blackhawks start hitting their stride.  This season will probably be different with the bulk of the schedule Keith misses against Western Conference foes.  I would say the Best case scenario is an 8-6-2 record.

Worst Case Record– The defense struggles to find an identity without Keith in the lineup with David Rundblad and Viktor Svedberg struggling at times with Trevor Daley in the wrong system to flourish.  The Chicago Blackhawks limp through the 16 games with a record of 4-10-2

Best Case Goals Against–  The best case scenario in this situation is that Corey Crawford becomes a Vezina Trophy Candidate that he has the potential to become.  Crawford with the help of Scott Darling play lights out in goal and keep the Goals Against Average to 2.5 a game.  Crawford is always considered the achilles heel, but this stretch of games could put him in the talk of elite goalie in the NHL.

Worst Case Goals Against– The defense is swiss cheese and no matter how good Crawford and Darling play, the defense is too much for them to overcome.  The Blackhawks goal light behind Crawford and Darling is constantly on and the Goals Against Average creeps over 4 a game.

Best Case Offensive Production– The best case for the Chicago Blackhawks offense during this Keith-less time is that they open up the play on all four lines and go back to 2009-2010 numbers when the Hawks could out score any team 6-5.  They don’t look to have the skill guys on the third line to make this happen, but the talent on the top two lines could take over any game on the offensive end.

Worst Case Offensive Production– The Chicago Blackhawks have a bunch of grinders on the roster from Ryan Garbutt, Andrew Desjardins, Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell etc etc. , and the team preaches the 200 foot game so look for the Hawks to button down the hatches and make every game unwatchable a la Barry Trotz with the hopes to keep every game at 2-1 or 3-2.  This may be successful at times, but that would mean the defensive youth is able to handle their jobs night in and night out.

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Best Case Coach Q– This is probably more of a crazy dream than best case scenario, but Coach Q takes his hands off the steering wheel and lets his talented lineup play while sticking with 4 lines and 3 defensive pairing nightly throughout the stretch.  This could build a lot of chemistry down the road when games matter more and more.

Worst Case Coach Q– The Chicago Blackhawks head coach loses his mind on a nightly basis with new lines each game and new defensive parings game in and game out while shuffling players in and out of the lineup.  This is what I pictured the second I heard the news of the Keith injury, Coach Q losing his mind for 2 months.

Best Case Scenario Overall– The Chicago Blackhawks grow from the injury with Joel Quenneville starting to trust his young players especially on the defensive end more and more which benefits the Hawks come playoff time when Coach Q doesn’t have to lean on Duncan Keith for 30 minutes a game during the playoffs.

Worst Case Scenario Overall- The Hawks struggle mightily with their most important member of the core out for 4-6 weeks, and the Blackhawks dig a hole they cannot overcome and miss the playoffs.  This truly is a worst case scenario which I don’t think will happen, but the Hawks are playing in the better Conference with a schedule stacked during this period with nothing but Western Conference teams.

What is your Best and Worst Case Scenarios?

Next: 3 Free Agents To Replace Keith

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