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Chicago Blackhawks 2017-18 Regular Season Expectations: Newcomers

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COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 16: Brandon Saad
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 16: Brandon Saad /
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CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 09: Cleveland Monsters G Anton Forsberg (31) looks up at a replay on the scoreboard after making a save during the first period of the AHL hockey game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Cleveland Monsters on April 9, 2017, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. Cleveland defeated Grand Rapids 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 09: Cleveland Monsters G Anton Forsberg (31) looks up at a replay on the scoreboard after making a save during the first period of the AHL hockey game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Cleveland Monsters on April 9, 2017, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. Cleveland defeated Grand Rapids 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Anton Forsberg

Expectation: He’ll get at least 27 starts.

This number is based on former backup Darling’s starts total last season. Some of that had to do with Corey Crawford’s appendectomy, but you’d like to think Q wouldn’t mind his backup posting 20 or so starts.

Frankly, however, I don’t know that Forsberg is ready for even that workload. It’s obviously a concern to hear that, but let’s consider the facts: Forsberg has all of nine NHL starts under his belt, and he’s won one of them.

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  • Forsberg is going to get fast-tracked to the NHL this season out of necessity, unless he’s just so bad in training camp that J.F. Berube (he of 13 NHL starts) wins the backup spot. But I think Crow, health concerns and all, is going to be asked to play a massive role in net in 2017-18.

    Expectation analysis: He won’t get at least 27 starts.

    Connor Murphy

    Expectation: He’ll surpass 17 points and 20:30 in average ice time.

    Those are both regular-season career highs for Murphy during his four seasons with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes. Murphy is just 24 and achieved those numbers playing for some bad teams in the desert.

    Since Murphy was acquired in the Hjalmarsson deal, I think some fans are expecting him to take over Hjammer’s lockdown defensive role on the blue line. This is just unrealistic; Murphy has not shown a penchant for that sort of play. But I doubt the Blackhawks expected they were getting a new and younger Hjammer in this trade.

    So I’ll look to other stats. Who Murphy pairs up with next season is obviously up in the air, but it seems clear he’ll be garnering top-four minutes. Duncan Keith, Michal Kempny and Gustav Forsling and Jordan Oesterle are all left-handed shots, and two of the three are offensively inclined from the blue line.

    Given those factors, I’m going to say Murphy easily hits the ice time goal. As a result, he’ll clear the points goal just because of how much he’ll be on the ice.

    Expectation analysis: He’ll surpass both 17 points and 20:30 in average ice time.

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