Chicago Blackhawks’ 2017-18 Demise Was The Perfect Storm
By Sean Fitzgerald
A storm of worst-possible events ensured the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2017-18 season would see the end of a playoffs qualification streak
The Chicago Blackhawks will not make the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. This season has not gone according to plan, but all of the blame for this season cannot fall on one person.
It was a perfect storm of events that lead to the demise of the Blackhawks. Nobody could have foreseen these events that would ultimately ruin the Blackhawks’ season and quite possibly have closed their championship window.
Here are the events:
— Marian Hossa announced that he will not play this season. On June 22, Hossa announced he would not play this season because of a skin disorder. The side effects were too great for Hossa to play this season. Many have speculated that Hossa will not play again his career.
So the ‘Hawks lost their second-leading scorer, one of their best two forwards and a penalty killer for nothing. He had 26 goals and 19 assists in the prior season.
— Blackhawks trade Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad; Saad has a career-worst season. This trade was twofold in its negative effect on 2017-18. The Blackhawks lost 31 goals and 43 assists from Panarin and replaced it with Saad’s 24 goals and 29 assist from the previous year.
The trade was a failure this season because Saad is having a worse year than his previous season coming to the Blackhawks. Saad only has 15 goal and 12 assists for 27 points. That is career low.
Nobody could have predicted Saad would have the worst season of his career in Chicago. Saad was entering the prime of his career and was poised for a breakout season.
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— Blackhawks trade Niklas Hjalmarsson for Connor Murphy; Murphy does not equal Hjalmarsson’s production on the ice. Stan Bowman traded away his best defenseman and replaced him with a younger, cheaper defenseman. It’s pretty simple — the ‘Hawks lost this trade, and their defense regressed because of it.
— Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook all regressed in the same season. We all knew it would come someday, but we did not imagine it would come in the same season. All three pillars of three Stanley Cup championships, regressed in the same season.
Toews has 16 goals and 24 assists currently. These are career-worst marks. This will be the worst point total season of his career.
Keith has a lost a step, which make sense due to his age and the amount of minutes that have piled up over this 10-year run. He has one goal, which is a career low, and his lowest minutes total since 2012-13.
Seabrook also has a lost a step this season due to the minutes he has played. He also a was healthy scratch this season. It was the 14th regular-season game he has missed since 2006-07. He has played a career low in minutes per game this season.
— Corey Crawford was injured for the majority of the season. Corey Crawford has not played since December with a mystery injury. He has only appeared in 28 games this season. The rest of the season, the Hawks have used Anton Forsberg (.910/2.50) and Jeff Glass (.898/3.10) in net until J.F. Berube’s recent call-up. That is a step down from Crawford’s .929/2.27 slashline.
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Those are the reasons the Blackhawks’ demise this season and why the championship window might be closed.