A few Chicago Blackhawks’ players have an opportunity to reach impressive milestones in 2019-20.
With the turn of the decade coming, the Blackhawks seem to be back on the rise again after a strong offseason.
During the last 4 seasons, all Blackhawks’ fans have gotten to see are 2 first-round playoff exits and missing the playoffs the other 2 years.
Going into the 2019-20 season, let’s visit some exciting things that can happen in Chicago this upcoming season.
1. Patrick Kane – 3 milestones
It’s fair to say we could make this whole article on Patrick Kane since he has a lot of milestones he can hit in the upcoming years.
Last season, Patrick Kane, 30, broke the 900 career points barrier in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.
With Patrick Kane only being 62 points away from 1,000 points, chances are he can hit it right around February 2020.
Patrick Kane has a chance to score his 400th-career goal this season. Kane is on track going by his showing last year.
It would take Patrick Kane 44-goals to break 400 but considering he had 44-goals last year, it is possible to see him do it again.
Patrick Kane is only 18-assists away from 600, it’s a safe bet to say Patrick Kane will get at least 18 assists in 82-games. Patrick Kane can hit it before the end of October.
2. Corey Crawford‘s 250th career win
Corey Crawford has been battling with a lot of injuries during the last two seasons which has delayed this milestone. Crawford, 34, is only 6 wins away from 250. Even if he ends up backing up Lehner, Crawford should be able to hit this milestone.
3. Robin Lehner‘s 100th career win
Right now, Robin Lehner is penciled in as the Blackhawks’ backup goalie. Rumors have been spreading that both Crawford and Lehner will be playing just around even time leads me to believe, if Lehner doesn’t get hurt, he will get his 100th win. Lehner, 28, is just 3 wins away, so expect it in November at the latest.
4. Jonathan Toews – 2 milestones
Jonathan Toews, 31, is very close to playing in his 900th career game. He may hit it during the Blackhawks’ 27th game of the season but things happen. Toews is coming off of a season where he played all 82 games so the odds are in his favor to continue that streak. Either way, Jonathan Toews if he plays only 27 games this season will play his 900th career game.
Jonathan Toews is only 44 points away from hitting number 800 during his 13th NHL season. Toews’ worst season in points was 48 during the 2013 shortened season. There is no way he won’t hit that milestone by the end of 2020.
5. Kris Versteeg – 3 milestones
Kris Versteeg, 33, has 3 milestones that he can hit this upcoming season. First, he has to secure a spot on the Blackhawks’ roster.
Versteeg has been adamant on playing in Chicago again during the 2019-20 season. If he even plays 10 games, he will play his 650th career game which he is only 7 games away from.
His second milestone can happen at any time, his 150th career goal. Versteeg is standing at 149 career goals, and at one point, people thought they might never see Versteeg back in the NHL. Well, haters, Verbeauty is back and will score at least one goal this season in a Blackhawks’ jersey.
This one is a stretch, but it is possible. Kris Versteeg getting his 400th career point. Versteeg is 42 points away from reaching the 400 points mark, and not to say it’s impossible since he has hit over 42 points 4 times in his 11-year career, but it will be less likely the longer he is playing in Rockford.
6. Brandon Saad – 200 career assists
Brandon Saad, 26, has had a rocky road back since being traded back to Chicago in 2017. I projected Saad to turn his career around this season and with him being 34 assists away from 200 career assists. It is possible to see him hit that milestone around March of 2020.
Saad’s career-high in assists is 29, which isn’t far off of 34. If Saad goes that extra mile this season, he will be celebrating number 200.
7. Brent Seabrook – 3 milestones
Brent Seabrook, 34, is at the end of his career where he is just collecting miles and playing his role. Unless he has a crazy injury early on in the season, Brent Seabrook will play his 1,100th game. He is 18 games away from that mark.
Seabrook is 2 game-winning goals away from hitting 20 in his career. If Mr. Overtime can just get his team to overtime, you can expect it. With Seabrook only scoring 5 times last season, it could be a stretch, but in 82 games, Mr. Overtime can squeeze in 2 game winners for me.
Seabrook’s 2,000th career shot is only 44 shots away. Seabrook shot the puck 165 times last season, so he will probably get his 2,000th shot in early 2020.
8. Duncan Keith – 4 milestones
With Chicago’s defense still running on Duncan, the alternate captain still has some work to do before he calls it a career.
Duncan Keith, 36, had 40 points during his 82-game campaign last season. Keith has a few scoring milestones he is close to that are very achievable during the 2019-20 season.
The first is scoring his 100th NHL goal. There isn’t much explaining to do besides saying he is 2 goals away from number 100. Last season, Keith scored 6 times, so there is no reason why he can’t score just 2 times this season.
The second is 500 career assists. Duncan Keith had 34 assists last season and is only 15 assists away from his 500th. Just like the goal mark, Duncan Keith’s assist milestone is well within reach.
The third is his 600th career point. Duncan Keith is only 17 points away from 600 career points. Keith’s 40-point campaign last season shows he still can help out on the score sheet and will be able to accomplish this task during the 2019-20 season.
Duncan Keith’s last milestone he can accomplish is playing in his 1,100th career game. Just like Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith is also close to that mark. The difference is Keith is 23 games away from his 1,100th-career game, with Seabrook only being 18 away from his.
9. Alex DeBrincat – 4 milestones
The 21-year old Alex DeBrincat isn’t just going into a contract year, he is going into a year where he can hit some milestones. There are 4 major milestones that stick out.
The first milestone that sticks out is hitting 200 career points. DeBrincat has had already two amazing NHL seasons under his belt and is just getting started. DeBrincat is 72 points away from scoring his 200th career point, which is feasible if he can stay healthy throughout the season. He had 76 points last season, so I like his chances to do it in 2019-20.
The second milestone everyone should look out for is his 100th career goal. Alex DeBrincat has scored 69 goals in his NHL career, with 41 of those goals coming last season. DeBrincat just needs to score 31 more goals to reach his 100th career goal. If he plays like he did last year, we will likely see this happen towards the end of the season.
The third milestone is his 100th career assists. In DeBrincat’s two NHL seasons, he has scored more goals than he has assisted in both seasons. With his best friend, Dylan Strome, playing alongside him, DeBrincat has a chance to make some great plays and show off their chemistry. Alex needs 41 assists this season to get number 100. If he scores 31 goals and racks up 41 assists during the 2019-20 season, he would hit 3 career milestones (goals, assists, and points).
The final milestone DeBrincat should be eyeing this season is playing in his 200th career game. Alex DeBrincat hasn’t missed a single NHL game since he started playing during the 2017-18 season. DeBrincat is only 36 games away from number 200. That is probably the easiest milestone he can hit this season and is the most likely.
10. Dylan Strome’s 100th career point
Dylan Strome, 22, has turned his NHL career around since being traded to Chicago in November of 2018. Strome has 67 career points, with 57 of them coming last season, and to make matters even worse for his time in Arizona, 51 of those points were in a Blackhawks’ jersey.
The fact is Dylan Strome has played amazing in Chicago. If he stayed in Arizona, he may have never reached 100 points, but one trade changed it all. Strome is now 33 points away from his 100th career point. Playing with DeBrincat will help both players hit their milestones.
11. Dylan Sikura‘s first career goal
The Sikura project has turned into a meme on Twitter. Dylan Sikura, 24, has played in 38 NHL games and has failed to score one single goal. If he gets any playing time in Chicago this season, Sikura needs to do more than play. He needs to score his first career goal and continue to add to the score sheet. Of all of the milestones on the list, this one seems the easiest, but at the same time, it might not happen.
12. Andrew Shaw‘s 250th career point
Andrew Shaw, 28, is back in Chicago for the 2019-20 season. Shaw was traded back to Chicago from Montreal during the summer and Blackhawks’ fans cannot be more excited. Andrew Shaw isn’t close to any other milestones besides points.
Last season, he scored his 100th goal, recorded his 100th assist, got his 200th point, and played in his 500th career game. This season, Shaw looks to finish what he started last season by getting his 250th career point. Shaw is only 13 points away from this milestone, so chances are he will get it before the new year starts.
13. Olli Maatta‘s 100th career assist
Olli Maatta is going into his 1st year as a Blackhawks’ player. Last year, Maatta was a solid part of Pittsburgh’s defense during the 60 games he played in.
Maatta, 25, has a chance to record his 100th career assist this season. He is only 18 assists away from that milestone, and with Chicago expecting Maatta to fill a top-6 defenseman role, he will surely have the chance to do it.
Maatta’s career-high in assists was 22 during the 2017-18 NHL season. He has gotten at least 18 two times before, so why can’t he do it a third time?
14. Calvin De Haan‘s 100th career point
Calvin de Haan, 28, has two milestones that he can hit. If de Haan wasn’t coming off of shoulder surgery and expected to be out until November, this article would have included him playing in his 400th career game or his 100th career assist.
De Haan’s injury has made some of his milestones unrealistic for this season, considering the lack of points he puts up when he is healthy. With that being said, he is only 5 points away from his 200th career point.
When he starts the season in November, he will start working towards that milestone. In 2017, de Haan only played in 33 games where he put up 12 points, which is more than what he needs this season to hit 200. The shoulder injury will be a factor, but will the switch from Carolina to Chicago better his career?
15. Zach Smith – 3 milestones
The Blackhawks acquired Zach Smith from Ottawa for Artem Anisimov during the offseason. Smith, 31, has 3 huge milestones this season that he will hit.
Zach Smith is only 7 points away from his 200th career point. Chances are Smith could hit this before the end of October, depending on how well he meshes with his linemates.
A tougher milestone for Smith to reach is his 100th career goal since he’s not much of a scorer. Zach Smith is 6 goals away from number 100, but with it taking him 70 games last season to get 9 goals, it makes you wonder how soon will he do it.
The last milestone for Zach Smith is recording his 100th career assist. Zach Smith is 1 assist away from number 100. This could be done as early as his debut game as a Blackhawk against Philadelphia. It’s very likely.
16. Connor Murphy‘s 400th career game
Connor Murphy, 26, has been grinding out his time in Chicago since being traded here two years ago. He has played 128 games in a Blackhawks’ jersey and is 14 games away from his 400th career game.
Even though he has battled through some injuries and healthy scratches, Connor Murphy has been a solid player on the Blackhawks’ blue line. If he stays healthy, he will hit his 400th career game early this season.
17. Slater Koekkoek‘s 150th career game
Slater Koekkoek, 25, is going into his 2nd season as a Blackhawks’ defenseman. He has taken part in 22 games as a Chicago Blackhawk since he was acquired mid-season from Tampa Bay. Koekkoek might have a hard time finding playing time with the crowded blue line, but if he can make it out to 43 games, Koekkoek will hit the milestone of 150 games played.
With the injury to Calvin de Haan, there is space for someone like Koekkoek to get more playing time. If he can stay healthy, Koekkoek will play his 150th game this season.
18. Adam Boqvist’s first career game
Adam Boqvist, 19, was drafted 8th overall during the 2018 NHL draft. Boqvist has been heavily scouted and trained by Brian Campbell to make sure he is completely ready for the NHL. Whether it is game 1 or game 82 of the season, Adam Boqvist will make his NHL debut this season.
19. Kirby Dach’s first career game
The name Kirby Dach, 18, was the most popular two names throughout the city of Chicago during Blackhawks’ developmental camp in July. The 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft has been working hard to get out there and earn a roster spot.
Dach will be making a push for a roster spot during training camp and preseason, and this season could be his time. He won’t have much pressure on him if he plays this season, because he has Dylan Strome and Jonathan Toews ahead of him. This means he doesn’t have to be the top guy. He won’t be asked to do anything crazy. The Blackhawks just need him to gain some NHL experience and learn the game.
Dach, just like Boqvist, might not play in Game 1, but it is highly likely to see both players on the Blackhawks’ roster this season.
20. Blackhawks’ 7th Stanley Cup
Yes, this counts, here’s why.
The Chicago Blackhawks last two seasons of missing the playoffs is the longest stretch in the Kane-Toews era. Last season, the team bounced back and missed the playoffs by 6 points, in a season where they blew a few games that they should have won. They finished strong and made a real push for the 2019 playoffs.
The Chicago Blackhawks are tied with Boston for 4th-most Stanley Cups. If Chicago can claim the Cup this season, they knock Boston down to 5th. That gives them sole possession of 4th most, alone, which is a milestone.
Chicago has a talented roster and will be a playoff team for sure. When Kane and Toews are on the ice, there’s no telling how far they’ll take you. Besides 2017, their playoff runs are always exciting. This could be the last run Chicago will get out of Duncan Keith. As the team continues to get younger, can the veterans bring home one last cup?