5. Kirby Dach
Kirby Dach, the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, looked very promising in development camp.
Dach and Adam Boqvist were the most noticeable players by far. He was active on both ends of the ice and seems to have great poise.
Stan Bowman has said Kirby Dach will be given every opportunity to make the 2019-20 NHL roster. Judging by Dach’s performance in development camp, it looks like he is up for the challenge. Let’s see how he does in training camp and preseason games.
Here are some of my favorite Kirby Dach highlights from Blackhawks’ development camp. It sure was nice to see him show up on both ends of the ice.
Training camp and preseason games are going to be fun. We’ll get our first glimpse of Dach on live tv soon enough!
4. Dylan Strome
Dylan Strome went from possible bust in Arizona to future star in Chicago last season. In 58 games with the Blackhawks, Strome showed why he was drafted 3rd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Strome was reunited with his good friend, Alex DeBrincat, and the rest is history. The Blackhawks’ offense shifted into another gear after Strome arrived. The power play also drastically improved. It was a beautiful sight to see, especially after a couple of years without a functioning power play.
Dylan Strome is playing on the final year of his rookie deal, so he’s going to bring it this season. I’m sure he wants to be paid and I can’t blame him.
If he can build off his success from last season, then the team will be in great shape. As for what it will cost to keep Strome, I’m estimating anywhere from $5-7 mil AAV.
3. Alex DeBrincat
Alex DeBrincat showed tons of promise during his rookie season in 2017-18, with 52 points (28G, 24A), a 6 ± rating, and three hat tricks in 82 games.
He took his game to the next level last season, as he posted career highs in just about every major statistical category. DeBrincat finished the 2018-19 NHL season with an impressive 76 points (41G, 35A).
DeBrincat and his buddy, Strome, are due for their first big NHL payday. While Strome will be between $5-7 mil AAV, I see DeBrincat at $6-8 mil AAV and possibly $9 mil AAV. This is not an ideal situation for the Blackhawks. I do not envy Stan Bowman one bit.
2. Jonathan Toews
Jonathan Toews followed two consecutive down seasons, by his standards, with a career year in 2018-19 which was his 12th NHL season.
Toews racked up 81 points (35G, 41A) with a 2 ± in 82 games. Another impressive stat was he averaged 21:00 minutes of ice time, another career-high at age 30.
If you asked me before the start of last season, I would have never guessed that Toews would have set all of these career highs.
If he did all of this while shuffling linemates, imagine what he can do if he had steady linemates.
Jonathan Toews found the fountain of youth in 2018-19 and it looks like he shared it with the number one player to watch in 2019-20, Patrick Kane.
1. Patrick Kane
Like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane followed suit and had himself a career-best year in his 12th season at age 30. He ended up averaging 22:29 minutes of ice time as well.
I’m not sure what’s in the water at the United Center, but I need to find the source and bottle it.
Yet, this time around, he didn’t win any of them. In my opinion, that’s pretty mind-blowing.
Kane continues to find ways to amaze me, just as much as the first time I saw him play. With the way he performed last season, it has to sting that the Blackhawks didn’t make a playoff appearance.
He will likely use that as motivation and the fact that he didn’t win any individual awards this time around, even with personal bests in just about every statistical category.
If you want to take a trip down memory lane to prepare yourself for the 2019-20 NHL season, I’m way ahead of you. I’ve already watched this video about 10 times.
Let’s go ‘Hawks, and let’s not waste any more prime years of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, please and thank you.