Chicago Blackhawks: What We Learned From 2018-19 Preseason

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 26: Duncan Keith
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 26: Duncan Keith /
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No. 3) Alex DeBrincat is going to be good for Jonathan Toews.

As we all know, our captain Jonathan Toews went through a down year last season much like a lot of his fellow Chicago Blackhawks teammates. With the loss of Marian Hossa and a lack of production from his team and line-mates, Toews simply got caught up trying to do too much.

That said, Alex DeBrincat is already making things easier on him.

DeBrincat led the team in goals last season and he’s already provided a solid offensive option for Toews. Because DeBrincat is a known threat, other offensive opportunities are starting to open up for Toews. As it turns out, DeBrincat can do more than score.

Playing alongside Dominik Kahun and DeBrincat, #19 and his first line looked to actually click for the first time this season. Hopefully, this trend continues.

No. 2) Cam Ward needs to perform better if he wants to give the Blackhawks a chance.

Just 16 seconds into the Chicago Blackhawks second preseason matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, Cam Ward gave up a goal on the first shot he faced in front of the United Center crowd. Detroit then scored on their second shot attempt of the night as Ward started off 0/2.

It was a tough start for a goaltender looking to make a good first impression.

All in all, Ward’s night ended having stopped only 10 of the 16 shots he faced. Here’s what he had to say on it:

"“Any​ time you​ let​ in six, it’s​ embarrassing as​ a goaltender,” Ward said. He continued, saying “Unfortunately (I) just wasn’t able to get comfortable through the game. It’s just one of those games, whether it’s preseason or not, you want to put forth a good outing and a good effort and tonight just wasn’t the night.”"

While Ward’s other performances weren’t as brutal, stopping 10/16 isn’t necessarily setting the bar all that high. Cam Ward is no longer a no. 1 goaltender, however he’s going to have to be until Crawford returns. Though Corey could be back as early as mid-October, the Hawks will be careful with him when he does.

In other words, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to think the two of them could split time.

All in all, Ward is going to need to perform better during his regular season starts than he did in the preseason if the Blackhawks want to have a chance at a playoff spot. Crawford and company can’t spend half of the year digging their way out of a hole if they want to remotely have a chance.

No. 1) This year is going to be the most interesting we’ve seen in a long, long time.

These Chicago Blackhawks are no longer receiving Stanley Cup Final predictions. Heck, they’re getting bottom-five predictions far more than they’re getting playoff predictions.

Considering that, people forget the Blackhawks were in playoff contention before Corey Crawford went down with an injury last year. Additionally, only a season before they were a first seed in the playoffs. This team, though aged and battling injury, still has a shot. It’s true that a lot needs to go right, but these guys are underdogs and they don’t mind it.

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Next. How the Blackhawks Look vs. the Predators. dark

It’ll be an uphill battle for our Chicago Blackhawks but a fun one at that. Should things go as many predictions say they will (with Chicago out of the playoffs), there are still a lot of storylines to watch. Young guns like Nick Schmaltz, DeBrincat, Kahun and Jokiharju are all looking to make major strides this year.

No one knows how this season is going to turn out, but something tells me it will be one of the most interesting, and entertaining, in recent memory.