Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Strong Offseason Comes With High Expectations

By Tony Gianares
BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 1: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks watches the action standing behind Patrick Kane #88 and Jonathan Toews #19 during an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 1: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks watches the action standing behind Patrick Kane #88 and Jonathan Toews #19 during an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks saw a lot of changes and upgrades this offseason. It was all the workings of a man who is surely feeling the heat.

The Chicago Blackhawks have fallen from grace over the past couple of seasons and it was hard to be optimistic at times. That all began to change during the 2018-19 season when the team’s core started coming together and young studs started breaking out. This all happened under the guidance of a new, young coach.

The 2019 offseason gave Blackhawks’ fans everywhere newfound hope. While the Blackhawks didn’t make a playoff appearance — for the 2nd straight season — they did luck into the 3rd overall pick.

They were gifted a very promising player in Kirby Dach, who projects to be a mainstay on the team for the foreseeable future. This was the first domino in a strong offseason.

Stan Bowman was one of the busiest men in the NHL this summer, and to this point, it seems like he’s about to see some of the fruits of his labor materialize.

Top prospects Dach and Adam Boqvist looked fantastic in Blackhawks’ development camp.

We will have to see how things pan out during training camp and preseason, but both have a legitimate chance of suiting up for Chicago in 2019-20.

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Besides drafting a couple of promising prospects, Bowman also went out and added roster depth this past offseason.

A lackluster defense and a historically bad penalty kill are looking much more respectable these days.

The addition of goaltender Robin Lehner solidifies the goalie position, especially with many questions surrounding Corey Crawford and his future.

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Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta will add two much needed defensive-minded defensemen to the Blackhawks’ top-6, while Ryan Carpenter and Zach Smith will add grit, veteran leadership, and a defensive presence to the forward group and penalty kill.

Andrew Shaw is also another wild card, with a heavy emphasis on wild. If he can have a repeat performance of a career-best season with the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks will be in good shape in 2019-20.

All of this was the work of a man, Stan Bowman, who is likely feeling the heat and pressure to bring the Blackhawks’ organization back to relevancy in the NHL. As of right now, I believe he has done all he can to make this team a playoff team.

Now, it’s up to Jeremy Colliton, the coaching staff, trainers, and the players to make Bowman’s vision come to life.

I’m really excited to see what Colliton can do as he approaches his first full year as an NHL head coach.

A full offseason to work with the team and all of the new additions should make a big difference.

Next. 20 Chicago Blackhawks Milestones to Watch for in 2019-20. dark

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