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Chicago Blackhawks Forwards Analysis After Early Postseason Exit

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Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (second from left) celebrates after he scored a goal with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) during the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (second from left) celebrates after he scored a goal with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) during the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 17, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz (8) reacts after an overtime loss against the Nashville Predators in game three of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won in overtime 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

On to some of the fresher faces

Nick Schmaltz.  This kid needs to gain some confidence!  Getting sent down to the AHL did him wonders this season, but when the competition was ramped up for the playoffs, Schmaltz was like a fish out of water.  He went right back to being hesitant and unsure of himself.

It’s obvious that Schmaltz is very talented; he was integral in raising the play of Toews.  What he needs is to play regularly and consistently from the beginning of the season.  Let him become a part of the team, not feel like he could be yanked at any moment.  Let him learn from his mistakes, and feel the confidence that comes from capitalizing on his strengths.  Come playoff time next year, I think we’ll be looking at a completely different player that is ready to contribute.

Ryan HartmanHartzy was by far the best rookie this season when it comes to production.  He almost hit 20 goals (19), and showed he can be versatile up and down the lineup.  He can also be that agitator, as long as he keeps his temper in line, and doesn’t commit unnecessary penalties.

For the most part, Hartman managed to do this, but the wheels fell off a bit at the end of the season.  I’m excited to see what Hartman can bring to the table next season.  I’d also love to see him catch some chemistry with his friend, Vinnie Hinostroza, as the two grew up playing together.

More from Blackhawk Up

Marcus KrugerI appears that it will be either Kruger or Trevor van Riemsdyk who will move on to the Vegas Golden Knights.  I hate to say it, but I’d like it to be Krugs.  First off, TVR has been playing better lately, and the ’Hawks can use all the help they can get on the blue line right now (more on this in my next post).

Secondly, Kruger has a larger cap hit ($3 million), and the ’Hawks desperately need money right now.  Finally, although Krugs is definitely a warrior, a great center and an excellent shutdown player, I believe Tanner Kero has emerged as a viable alternative to take his place.

Tanner Kero.  Speaking of which, how about Kero in the playoffs?!  He was one of the only players who actually looked good out there.  That’s a pretty decent accomplishment, considering how bad everyone else looked.

He fared especially well on the dot, which is an excellent thing for a team that’s looking to up their possession game.  It’s been brought up by the coaching staff that they’d like to see Kero bring more to the table in the way of offense.  Well, let’s just work on that some more next year, shall we?

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