Question 1: Special teams. And while that’s not something that can just be upgrades dramatically by a trade, I feel that maybe adding some more depth players would work nicely.
However, the price would have to be rather low for some bottom-six role players. No big names, just maybe another veteran presence with some scoring touch.
For special teams to improve, the ’Hawks need to get creative with the groups on the ice. Maybe throw out four forwards and one D-man on the powerplay more often?
Question 2: While Steve Larmer is the obvious answer here, I’m going to go with Chris Chelios. Illinois native and captain from 1995-99, he won two of his three Norris Trophies with the ’Hawks. He also got the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992.
Question 1: To help remedy their struggles to score, the Blackhawks should seek a goal-scoring forward. Many candidates will likely be 2017 free agents, so veteran players having a good year like Radim Vrbata (Coyotes) and P.A. Parenteau (Devils) immediately spring to mind. Unlikely, you say? OK, then how about … Viktor Stalberg. Just kidding.
Question 2: Steve Larmer. If his recent turn on United Center ice for the Blackhawks’ “One More Shift” promotion is any indication, Larmer should see his 28 raised to the rafters as the next Blackhawks number to be retired.
His team-record 884 consecutive games, 49 game-winning goals and a plus-minus of plus-182 pretty much seal the deal. That Larmer’s not already in the NHL Hall of Fame borders on criminal negligence.
Question 1: If the Blackhawks want to compete for another Stanley Cup, they need to gain another center at the deadline. Anisimov can’t get over 50 percent on the dot for the life of him. And Kruger is great at faceoffs, but he struggles offensively. If only the Blackhawks could have a combination of the two.
Can we bring Vermette back? A girl can dream.