Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Reasons For Optimism In 2016-17

By Gail Kauchak
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) and Artem Anisimov (15) after scoring the game-winning goal during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) and Artem Anisimov (15) after scoring the game-winning goal during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /
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chicago blackhawks
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) after scoring the game-winning goal during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /

1. How about that second line?

Let’s face it, this is the Chicago Blackhawks’ saving grace right now. They have this phenomenal line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. The trio was together for most of the past season, and it has done nothing but impress.

Kane had one of the best seasons of his career, winning the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer, with 46 goals and 60 assists (106 points). He also was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is given to the league’s most valuable player, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association.

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As if this wasn’t enough, he was also awarded the Ted Lindsay Award, which is for the most valuable player as voted by the players.

But he couldn’t have done this without Panarin. The Bread Man ran away with the Calder Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s best rookie. His 30 goals and 47 assists (77 points) were by far the best of all rookies, and tied for ninth in the league overall.

And one can’t forget about Anisimov. He is defensively responsible in between these two offensive powerhouses. He is also known for his ability to get to the net for screens and deflections. Not to mention he is Russian like Panarin, and serves as an excellent interpreter.

This second line combination has had a whole year together to fine tune its craft and build chemistry. It’s safe to say they could easily be even better this year.

Next: Reason No. 2: On Defense

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