Chicago Blackhawks’ Hot And Not: Defensive Depth Having A Good Week
By Tim Martens
The Chicago Blackhawks are riding a five-game winning streak into their game in Dallas tonight. Let’s take a look at who has been key in that winning streak and who can still improve.
In this roller coaster season, it seems every time one of our Chicago Blackhawks Hot and Not articles is posted, the team takes a shift in the other direction. This week, the ‘Hawks are currently on a five-game winning streak, meaning there are a good number of players who could fall in the “Hot” category.
Hopefully, we don’t see another dip for the team over the coming games and find ourselves with more “Not” options in the next few weeks.
Hot: Corey Crawford
We keep saying it every week, but how can you not include Crawford in the hot list? He is 9-0-2 in his last 11 starts and is the No. 1 goalie in the NHL in save percentage and goals-against average among goalies who have started the majority of their team’s games this year. He has been an absolute stud all year and has won his team a game on multiple occasions.
Not: Patrick Sharp
No goals in 10 games, one goal in the last 21 games and only nine points in all 33 games this year, Sharp has not been producing at all in his second stint with the Blackhawks.
Rumors are buzzing that he will be viewing the game from the press box soon and it is hard to argue he doesn’t deserve to be there. The ‘Hawks need life in their lineup, and Sharp does not seem to have it in him anymore.
More from Blackhawk Up
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- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
Hot: Patrick Kane
The NHL’s No. 1 star of the week last week, Kane has four goals and three assists in the last four games. And the outburst came at a great time, immediately after a five-game point drought.
It was the longest stretch without a point for Kane since before he was a Stanley Cup champion. Hopefully Kane keeps up the offense now that he is finding his groove a bit more.
Not: Ryan Hartman
While his goal Sunday against Minnesota finally broke his streak of 17 games without a goal, Hartman was benched for two games last week and has seen his minutes reduced a great deal.
He only saw 10:48 of ice time in Sunday’s game against the Wild and has only played over 13 minutes once in the last 20 games. The former first-round pick is going to need to continue to score and work hard to get back into coach Joel Quenneville’s good graces.
Hot: Jordan Oesterle
In four games since returning to the lineup, Oesterle has two assists and is a plus-6 in the Blackhawks’ lineup. Oesterle has surprised with a good amount of speed, strong possession at both ends of the ice and good instincts while defending and in the neutral zone.
The Blackhawks’ blue line is not going to be called the best in the NHL anytime soon, but Oesterle is a nice depth piece for a team that looked shaky at defense entering the year.
Next: Kane Continues to Bring Success
Not: Former Blackhawks in Carolina
Former Blackhawks Trevor Van Riemsdyk and Marcus Kruger have combined for only 12 points in Carolina so far this season. Meanwhile, goaltender Scott Darling has a .896 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average this season. In his last three games, Darling’s save percentage is a .870 (and one of those games he saved 35 of 36 shots, showing how bad he’s been in the other five contests).
The Hurricanes had to have hoped for a little bit more when they invested in these three former Blackhawks this past offseason.