Chicago Blackhawks’ Three Most Surprising Players In 2016-17 Season

By George Clifford
Mar 21, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at the United Center. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at the United Center. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 21, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at the United Center. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at the United Center. The Vancouver Canucks won 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

A resurgent veteran and a brace of rookies top our list of this season’s most surprising Chicago Blackhawks

When Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman announced last June that the cap-constrained ‘Hawks would have to forego high-dollar free agent signings, and instead rebuild from within the organization, many fans uttered a couple prayers and envisioned a long, difficult season ahead.

Yet here we are nine months later with the Blackhawks sitting atop the Western Conference, playoff spot in hand, with a record of 47-20-6 and 100 points.

So, how did we get here? Simply stated, the ‘Hawks have gotten sensational play from a surprising mix of star players and overachieving rookies to produce prodigious scoring in front of stellar goaltending. Of course, this didn’t all come together right away at the start of the season, but since Feb. 1, the Blackhawks lead the NHL with 17 wins, 35 points and 74 goals.

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s been a compelling team effort, but a few unexpected names stand out. Here’s a look at this season’s three most surprising Blackhawks.

He’s back!

When Marian Hossa posted a disappointing career-low 33 points last season, many wondered if the 37-year-old star winger could ever regain his Hall of Fame level of play, much less play out his 12-year contract that ends in 2021.

But after a long summer’s rest and rejuvenation, big Hoss is now playing some of his best hockey ever. In 65 games this season, he’s already notched 23 goals and 41 points, including six game-winning goals, which ranks second on the team behind only Artem Anisimov with seven.

Even more encouraging, Hoss is showing more of the master’s hand down the stretch — his thrilling breakaway score sealed the recent 4-2 win against Minnesota, while his nifty helper and powerplay goal kept the ‘Hawks in the game in Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver.

George Harrison was often overshadowed by the outsized personalities of songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney, yet was considered by many to be the true heart of The Beatles. Much the same can be said about Hossa.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane may get all the headlines, but without big Hoss, it’s difficult to imagine the Blackhawks winning those last three Stanley Cups. If Q can find a way to give him some judicious rest over the next several weeks, there’s every reason to believe Hossa will be a key producer deep into the playoffs.

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