Blackhawk Up Staff Predictions for Chicago Blackhawks
By Tony Gianares
The staff at Blackhawk Up share their thoughts, predictions, and more for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019-20.
This offseason was as hectic as expected for the Chicago Blackhawks. It all started with lucking into the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and ended with some key free-agent signings and trades.
The team needed a major overhaul, especially on defense, and that is exactly what we got.
Last season, we got our first real taste of an overdue youth movement in Chicago. This will continue in 2019-20 and beyond.
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We may end up seeing some of the Blackhawks’ more recently drafted prospects, Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist, suit up for Chicago. If either player makes the 2019-20 opening day roster, they will breathe new life into both the city and the team.
The addition of Robin Lehner was also huge, considering the current status of Corey Crawford and the question marks surrounding him.
Hopefully, the combination of young talent and offseason additions are enough to get the Blackhawks over the hump and back into the playoffs, after a 2-year absence.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in and breakdown what should be an exciting season for our beloved Chicago Blackhawks.
Tony Gianares (@Certified_TonyG)
Standings/record: 43-31-8 (94 points, WC)
Breakout Player: Dominik Kubalik
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat (42)
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (105)
Thoughts on the season: After a roster rehaul, the Blackhawks squeak into the 2019 playoffs as a Wild Card team. Once they get in, anything can happen. The St. Louis Blues proved that last season.
Added roster depth, defensive upgrades, and a strong goalie tandem increase their win total by 7 games. The power play will thrive once again and the penalty kill should be better.
The youth movement is real and officially in motion. Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist have a shot at playing meaningful NHL games this season. Dominik Kubalik has the talent to post a 20 goal season. The Blackhawks may be active at the trade deadline and dangle Erik Gustafsson as trade bait.
Roland Hacker (@roland_hacker)
Standings/record: 42-33-7 (91 points)
Breakout Player: David Kampf
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat
Points Leader: Patrick Kane
Thoughts on the season: The Blackhawks slip into last Wild Card spot, or just miss, as both Wild Card spots are occupied by two Central Divison teams. The defense still performs poorly, but look for the penalty kill to improve.
Ryan Fedrau (@the_fed_23)
The excitement level for this upcoming season for me personally is through the roof. With the season just around the corner, my predictions will be as least biased as possible.
Basing this off of the success of Jeremy Colliton and the team last year, 2019-20 will be an interesting year. The team turned it around at the end of 2018-19. If they can get off to a solid start this season, they should be a playoff team.
Standings/record: 43-30-9 (95 Points)
Breakout player: Alex DeBrincat
Top goalscorer: Patrick Kane (40+)
Points leader: Patrick Kane (100+)
Thoughts on the season: If the Blackhawks make the playoffs like I believe they will, they’re going to make it very far. They have the guys that could win it all. They are stacked with veterans and young, hungry talent that want to win now.
Coach Colliton seemed to figure out what works best for the team towards the end of last year and they were only 6-points out of the playoffs. After one full year with Colliton behind the bench, along with a whole offseason and camp to work with the guys, it could be a very special year.
Whether or not the Blackhawks make the playoffs will likely come down to how the 3rd and 4th lines produce. They will probably look to add a player around the trade deadline in February, if they do take that next step this season.
Danny Karmin (@Blackhawks8823)
Standings/record: 45-31-6 (96 points, WC)
Breakout player: Brandon Saad
Top goalscorer: Patrick Kane (45)
Points leader: Patrick Kane (112)
Thoughts on the season: Blackhawks are a playoff team once again, after finishing in the first Wild Card spot. Much improved defensive play and good goal-scoring depth from all 4 lines in 2019-20 get the team over the hump.
Jimmy Lynch (@JLynch0128)
Standings/record: 45-29-8 (98 points) — 4th in Central,1st WC
I believe the Blackhawks are going to have a good season this year. As long as the defense and special teams can continue to improve, the Blackhawks will have the offensive depth to make it to the playoffs.
Breakout Player: Dominik Kubalik
Dominik Kubalik might be the new Artemi Panarin signing. Like Panarin, Kubalik is a sniper who can help add scoring depth to the team in the top-9. To me, Kubalik looks like someone that can put up 20 goals in his rookie season.
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat (45)
Alex DeBrincat is going to have a full season with Dylan Strome on the team, so I fully expect DeBrincat to elevate his game in his 3rd season and put up a lot of goals.
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (110)
Patrick Kane is still the Blackhawks’ guy. We have talked about the impact he has on the team and even some of the records he is chasing. Kane should be the Blackhawks’ point leader yet again.
Thoughts on the season: If the Blackhawks can figure out their defense this season, they will make the playoffs. Jeremy Colliton has a different system in comparison to Joel Quenneville. Most of the Blackhawks’ 2018-19 season was spent trying to learn a new system.
One reason the ‘Hawks lost so many games last year was due to them having to learn and adapt on the fly. Now, all they have to do is go out and play. This is going to be a fun season to watch. The Blackhawks need to avoid giving up more than 3 goals every night and the ‘Hawks can make the playoffs.
Steve Dishon (@FoggysPal)
Standings/Record: About the only thing I can say definitively about the Western Conference Central Division is that the Minnesota Wild will most likely finish last. Beyond that, it’s truly a crapshoot.
The Avalanche look to have improved the most adding some grit to their young stars. The Predators made a bold move adding Matt Duchene and moving P.K. Subban.
The Blues are Stanley Cup Champions and look to be back largely intact. The Stars added some veteran depth. Winnipeg may have taken a step back, but still, tout a solid team.
Last, but not least, our beloved Blackhawks have brought back an old favorite, shored up the defense, and placed another brick in the wall in front of the goal.
2019-2020 Central Division standings:
1. Colorado Avalanche
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Nashville Predators
4. Chicago Blackhawks 43-30-9 (95 points, WC)
5. Winnipeg Jets (WC)
6. Dallas Stars
7. Minnesota Wild
The Central Division is so strong that it will put both Wild Card teams in the playoffs.
Breakout Player: Adam Boqvist
I’m digging into my bag of tricks here. A few years ago, I wrote an article stating that Alex DeBrincat should be on the second line in his first year in the league. Folks vehemently disagreed with me, stating that he needed some time in Rockford before joining the ‘Hawks. A win for me.
With that in mind, I believe Adam Boqvist is going to break out this year. At this time, he is not on the ‘Hawks roster. However, it is likely, through injury or healthy scratch, that an opportunity could arise.
When that opportunity presents itself, Boqvist is going to steal the show. This will be the last preseason that there is any question about Adam Boqvist.
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat (43)
Alex DeBrincat will lead the Blackhawks in scoring in 2019-2020. DeBrincat will surely play on the same line with Dylan Strome. The two have had chemistry for years going back to their days with the Erie Otters. As long as the two play together, their chemistry will continue to blossom.
Furthermore, DeBrincat will continue to play on the weak-side dot on the power play, affording him ample opportunity to score. Kane’s excellent passing across the crease will ensure that DeBrincat beats him in the goal-scoring category.
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (93)
Patrick Kane may not lead the team with goals, and he may not lead the team with assists, but he will lead the team once again with points
Kane is still playing at a very high level and is the most well rounded offensive player on the team. He shows no signs of slowing down. Kane will prove once again that he is one of the most elite players in the entire NHL.
Thoughts on the Season: As the Hawks moved through the offseason, Stan Bowman began putting together the pieces that would address the ‘Hawks biggest needs. He added two defensive defensemen, a gritty fan-favorite forward and quality depth in goal.
On paper, the Hawks are much improved. The playoffs certainly look like a possibility. However, we, as ‘Hawks fans, need to pump the brakes a bit. The Central division is stacked!
At this point, there are arguably three or four teams who could win the division, and it would not be unthinkable for the Central to have five teams in the playoffs.
The Blackhawks’ hopes rely on improved defense, continued chemistry and production from DeBrincat and Strome, sustained greatness by Kane and Toews, more point production from the bottom-six, and consistency in net.
I’m a true believer in Jeremy Colliton. After a few months with Colliton and the new system, the ‘Hawks played inspired hockey. In fact, they finished the season at a playoff clip. It’s a bold statement, but look for the ‘Hawks to pick up the first or second Wild Card spot in 2019-20.
Austin Pedue (@BlackhawksDzone)
Standings/Record: 43-31-8 (94 points, WC)
Blackhawks finish with 94 points and make the playoffs as Wild Card 1 or 2. In 2018-19, the Blackhawks finished with 84 points and a record of 36-34-12. Their 12 overtime losses were the second-most in the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks also had an infuriating -22 goal differential (the worst goal differential by a Western Conference playoff team was +8).
With more time for players to learn Jeremy Colliton’s systems, combined with offseason signings to address their defensive woes, the Blackhawks will have a much better record.
Breakout Player: Brendan Perlini
- 14.67 shooting% at 5v5 (3rd best, behind Debrincat and Strome)
- 1.39 goals/60 at 5v5 (best on team)
- 9.46 shots/60 at 5v5 (best on team)
Top Goal Scorer: Patrick Kane (38)
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (108)
Thoughts on the Season: If the Blackhawks want to be successful, a change has to be made in their defensive zone.
Under Jeremy Colliton, the coaching staff has deployed a man-to-man defensive zone coverage. It didn’t work and it won’t work.
Brent Seabrook chasing a player all around the defensive zone is not a great recipe for success. Alex DeBrincat covering the front of the net is something we should never have to see.
For the Blackhawks to be successful, the coaching staff has to adapt their systems to fit the players they have.
Zach Kuehn (@zach_kuehn)
Standings/record: 46-28-8 (100 points)
Breakout player: Alexander Nylander – I see the skill set that Nylander brings to the table and think it can translate well in Chicago. If he clicks with Kane or Toews, he can easily put up 20-plus goals.
Top goalscorer: Alex DeBrincat (42)
Points leader: Patrick Kane (107)
Thoughts on the season: I think this season is going to shock a lot of people not only in Chicago, but the league as a whole. The additions the Blackhawks have made help the team now and in the future.
With fewer expectations, I think the team will do well. Also, with legitimate NHL-ready prospects due to play this year, ‘Hawks fans should be excited.
Jonathan Durrbeck (@jdurrbs)
Standings/Record: 46-31-5 (97 points); 3rd in the Central
Breakout Player: Dylan Strome (73 points)
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat (44)
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (102)
Thoughts on Season: With the additions in the offseason joining their veteran core, I think the Blackhawks are good enough to win 10 more games than last year and bring themselves back to the playoffs.
Their forward group is much deeper and offers several options to mix and match throughout the season.
The defense that looked shaky last year now has more of a steady look to it — if they can stay healthy — and some nice options starting the year in Rockford that they can call up at any point.
Stability in net, with one of the best goalie duos in the league, will be another reason for success this season.
Tyler Barger (@weekendatbrodys)
Standings/Record: 42-33-6 (90 points, 2nd WC)
Breakout Player: Adam Boqvist
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (100)
Thoughts on Season: After missing the playoffs the last two seasons, the Blackhawks will make the playoffs.
The defense will be better with Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta, Erik Gustafsson, and potentially Adam Boqvist. Corey Crawford will play better, because the defense will not hang him out to dry so much.
The Blackhawks should score more goals with the additions of Alexander Nylander, Dominik Kubalik, and possibly Aleksi Saarela.
Michael Wagner (@MichaelDWagner)
Standings/Record: 39-30-12 (90 points)
Breakout player: Dominik Kubalik
Top Goal Scorer: Alex DeBrincat (40)
Points Leader: Patrick Kane (107)
Thoughts on the Season: This season is going to be a fun and interesting on for the ‘Hawks.
Players like Nylander, Kubalik and Boqvist look to compete for NHL time. The defense has been stabilized and they have one of the best goalie tandems in the league.
Even with the improved defense, the Blackhawks likely aren’t a shoo-in for a playoff spot, but at 90 points could see them sneaking in as a 7th or 8th seed in a once again stacked Central Division.
Mike Murdock (@mmurdock)
Standings/record: 45-31-6 (97 points, WC)
Breakout player: Dylan Strome
Top goal scorer: Alex DeBrincat (43)
Point leader: Patrick Kane (114)
Thoughts on the season: After missing the playoffs the last two seasons, the Blackhawks will be back in postseason this year via the wild card.
Blue line additions of Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta are most certainly upgrades over guys like Brandon Manning and Gustav Forsling.
In terms of the forwards, the return of Andrew Shaw will provide some desperately needed physicality, while Brandon Saad will help stabilize the bottom-6.
After a full offseason to work with the incumbent players from 2018-19 and some new faces, now is the time for Jeremy Colliton to truly shine and we believe he will.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2019-20 success will be directly linked to how well, and how quickly, all of the new and old pieces mesh.
Not sure about you, but all of us here at Blackhawk Up are ready to get this season started. It truly is a great feeling to be excited about hockey again in Chicago, mostly because playoffs are looking like a possibility once again. There is a buzz around the city again and for good reason.
From all of us here at Blackhawk Up, we’d like to take the time to wish the Chicago Blackhawks the best of luck in 2019-20.
Now, go show the fans in Prague what Blackhawks hockey looks like with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers.