The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be bereft of star power during the 2017-18 season, but they could always use a little boost — something at least one of these players could provide
Which players do you think of as “stars” for the Chicago Blackhawks? Patrick Kane, obviously. Jonathan Toews, you should (even if his offensive prowess has dipped in recent seasons). Marian Hossa when healthy.
Brandon Saad is working his way there. Duncan Keith, yes. Corey Crawford, yes. Brent Seabrook seems to be falling from that plateau, but he’s not chopped liver. Artem Anisimov is somewhere between “star” and “solid piece.”
Beyond that, the Blackhawks currently have a mix of youngsters, veterans and unproven assets heading into the 2017-18 season. Last season, one of the unproven assets was Richard Panik. While he didn’t turn himself into a bona fide star in 2016-17, he had a breakout campaign that surprised many around the Blackhawks’ camp.
So who could be the next Panik during the 2017-18 season? While it’s not a requirement that some player have a breakout season each year, it seems like something that tends to happen. And the Blackhawks could really use it this season, as much uncertainty plagues the roster.
Let’s take a look at some guys who could surge from their performances in 2016-17 to become important players for this upcoming season’s Blackhawks.