Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: Jeremy Colliton’s Time to Shine Is Now

By Tony Gianares
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton looks on in game action during the first period of a NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders on January 22, 2019 at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton looks on in game action during the first period of a NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders on January 22, 2019 at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach, Jeremy Colliton, officially has the floor in 2019-20. How will he fare?

Jeremy Colliton was a mid-season hire by the Chicago Blackhawks after Stan Bowman decided to cut ties with the legendary head coach, Joel Quenneville.

Last season certainly had some peaks and valleys, but that was to be expected with a new coach and an uninspiring roster.

This season will be different, as the Blackhawks have added plenty of roster depth and made some upgrades at positions of need.

Colliton has had a full offseason to work with the incumbent players and the new faces, so obviously expectations are going to be high in 2019-20.

The Blackhawks finished 6 points out of a Wild Card spot in 2018-19, so the potential is definitely there. Now, it’s just a matter of how fast will these new faces gel with the older ones?

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I believe the team will see a slight boost in wins and sneak into a Wild Card spot this season, but it’s going to take a total team effort.

That effort starts at the top with Jeremy Colliton. Can he get the results he’s looking for after having a full offseason to truly implement his system?

Jeremy Colliton Can’t Do It All Himself

Obviously, Colliton won’t be lacing up the skates in 2019-20, so he will need the players to do the work for him.

It all starts with the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup core which includes Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford, and Andrew Shaw. They will need to lead by example, especially with so many new faces joining the team.

Also, the “new core” will need to take another step forward and take on more responsibility. These players include Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Connor Murphy, Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, and etc. Robin Lehner will also play a major role, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Crawford.

Erik Gustafsson‘s current contract situation will also play a role in 2019-20, but for the time being, he is included in the new core.

The Blackhawks will need him to recreate his breakout 2018-29 season on their back end. His offensive output will add a much-needed dimension to this team.

Will all of these players be up for the challenge? That is the biggest question of the 2019-20 season. It is still to be determined, but we will find out soon enough.

Outlook on the 2019-20 Season

If Toews, Kane, DeBrincat, Strome, Gustafsson, Murphy, and etc. can pick up where they left off last season, the Blackhawks have a great shot at making some noise this season.

There have been some growing pains during the preseason, but a learning curve was to be expected with so many new pieces.

The new kids on the block are going to be counted on this season to really get the team over the hump.

The addition of defensive guru, Calvin de Haan, should give the Blackhawks’ defense a much-needed boost.

He is still recovering from his offseason shoulder surgery and a groin injury. When he comes back, Blackhawks’ fans will have flashbacks of Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Overall, I like the Chicago Blackhawks’ chances in 2019-20. I will peg them as a Wild Card team, but I don’t know if they will go much further than that.As long as they get in, anything is possible though.

The St. Louis Blues proved that last season, as they were the worst team in the NHL at the halfway point of the 2018-19 season, but went on to win the 2019 Stanley Cup.

Jeremy Colliton will definitely have his hands full this season, but it looks like he is up for the challenge.

Step one will be to get into the playoffs, and that’s the expectation that almost all fans have.

Another slow start or failed season will be considered unacceptable. If that does happen, then expect to see major changes ranging from management to players.

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