Blackhawks: Surprise Player of the Season – so far
By Ryan Fedrau
If the season were to end today, which it very well could, the surprise player of the year for the Blackhawks would be Dominik Kubalik.
At the beginning of the season, the Blackhawks‘ roster had a few players that stood out. If I were to pick a surprise player of the season from day one, it would have been either Brandon Saad or Robin Lehner.
Saad has done well this season, Lehner has been traded. Even if Lehner was still with the team, he didn’t surprise me enough to not give Dominik Kubalik the nod. When fans were speaking of Blackhawks’ rookies to start the season, Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist were the talks of the town. Now, Kubalik is the talk of the Calder Trophy.
It took Kubalik just one game to score his first career goal. In his second career game, he scored his first goal, which was on home ice against the Sharks. He started the year average but turned things on once 2020 started.
In 68 games this season, Kubalik has 30 goals and 16 assists for 46 points.
Since the start of 2020, Kubalik has 28 points in 28 games. Being a point-per-game player will get him far in this league. Kubalik has found success with Jonathan Toews on the first line mostly but has also played well when paired with other players.
During those 28 games, he has had a career-high six-game point streak. Kubalik went on a run where he scored six goals in four games. He scored two in three of those games, missing his chance at his first career hat trick.
Against Tampa Bay last month, Kubalik finally got his first career hat trick.
In the Blackhawks’ most recent game, Kubalik scored his 30th goal of the season. It’s good that he got it before the NHL paused the season because there is no promise that the season will resume.
Kubalik has made a great push for Rookie of the Year. Even if he doesn’t get the trophy, the Blackhawks have a solid young goal-scorer, to add to the success of Patrick Kane, Dylan Strome, and Alex DeBrincat.
Speaking for scoring, Saad has done a lot of that too this season. If the top six forwards can keep scoring, the Blackhawks have a shot at the playoffs if the season ever resumes. If the season ends up being canceled, I’m excited for a fresh start in 2020-21.