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Top Three Chicago Blackhawks To Look Forward To This Season

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ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 25: (L-R) Jonathan Toews
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 25: (L-R) Jonathan Toews /
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Attention: We’re in September, officially within the month that pre-season hockey starts. Soon we’ll be able to witness who gets a roster spot, which line combinations work best, and who will have to make the biggest impact on the roster. In summary; It’s a great time of year.

With that being said, lets take a look at the top three players to look forward to this upcoming NHL season!

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3. Corey Crawford

Corey Crawford has been under a lot of scrutiny throughout his career. He’s helped accomplish a lot for the Chicago Blackhawks, which include two Stanley Cup championships and regular appearances that helped the Hawks excel to the number one spot in the Central division twice.

However, with a now-diminished blue-line and questionable aging defensive core in front of him, there’s a lot of pressure on the goaltender this season.

Crawford had a 32-18-4 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average. With above average statistics, Crawford was able to elevate his game with how well the team in front of him and vice versa.

However, with the departure of Trevor van Riemsdyk and Niklas Hjalmarsson in return for Connor Murphy, things seem pretty dim in front of Crawford. The blue-line has gotten less elite, and has become more experimental.

Hjalmarsson was vital to Crawford’s play with his shot blocking mobility and stand-down defensive production. It’s not certain how Murphy will do in replacement of Hammer, but one thing is for sure; Crawford will need to be flashy, eccentric, and better than usual.

He’s going to be one of the most exciting, or overwhelming pieces to the Hawks puzzle coming October. He’s going to have to play as a key piece on the ice 24/7 if he’s to keep this team from falling down in a game. Every chance the opponents get will need to turn into momentum swings for his team, and that all starts with Crawford.

No pressure, really.

2. Jonathan Toews.

The past few seasons haven’t been too hot for the Blackhawks captain. Jonathan Toews has been taken lightly the past two seasons, where he’s been locked in with 58 points in each season. Now, for a $10.5M cap hit, that’s excruciating to see. However, with a revolving door of line mates and inconsistency all around him, there’s more to blame than just Toews.

Toews hasn’t been the same since Brandon Saad departed the team after their 2015 Stanely Cup championship. He seemed to have lost identity with how he played and that stuck with him while his teammates whistled in and out of his top line. However, with Saad’s return to the line-up and familiarity back on the teams’ first line, things are looking better for the captain.

During Saad’s time with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he was able to become a more well-rounded player; someone who can be depended on, not be dependent on someone else. He’s now a much more matured hockey player and that’s just what Toews needs, especially with the recent loss of Marian Hossa for the remainder of the season.

From what we can examine, Toews will be able to become more scoring efficient, and he’ll have some help on the dot in case a fast, two-way forward needs to get in there and help win the puck back.

Toews’ seems to have a more electric attitude torwards this upcoming season, and he definitely should be excited for his return with his favorite winger.

3. Alex Debrincat.

Standing at 5’7 and weighing 165 pounds isn’t what you’d see in your average NHL player, but Alex Debrincat isn’t average; he’s a superstar in the making.

To put it into perspective, Debrincat had 127 points in 63 games with the Lake Erie Otters, where summed up 65 goals and 62 assists. He had 18 points higher than any other player in the league, right above his teammate Taylor Radish who had 109 points on the year. Fun fact, he was a regular with Debrincat. See the trend?

The most exciting thing about the second round draft pick is where he’ll fit in the roster and what impact he’ll have. As a winger who’s versatile enough to play on either side, we’re blessed to have his talent on the roster.

Will he fit on the left wing alongside Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, or will be provide some bottom six depth and help illuminate those on the lower spectrum on the roster? Will be be able to assist on the power play and help the Hawks special teams get out of the bottom margins in the league?

Anywhere he fits, he’ll help tremendously. Having a star thats small, intelligent, versatile, and quick is a blessing to have wherever on the lineup. Scoring is going to need to be a all-time high this year if the teams’ going to have success and Debrincat can bring a lot of that to the table.

However, only time will tell where he’ll fit and what job he’ll be put into, but the future looks bright with his name on the starting roster.

Without a doubt, he’s the biggest headline heading into the season.

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