Blackhawks vs. Oilers: 3 Things to Watch in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers
By Dylan Terry
2. Young Guns First Playoff Appearances
Since it is the first time that the Hawks have qualified for the postseason since 2017, it means that a lot of the younger guys on the roster will receive their first experience playing in the playoffs. Guys such as Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, Dominik Kubalik, and Alexander Nylander will all finally get a taste of the postseason.
This provides the opportunity for all of them to experience what a playoff game is like, and how much more physical and demanding the game is once the postseason gets underway. We all know DeBrincat has been a regular-season monster in the past, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue to produce effectively during the series. Coming off a down year in the goal-scoring department, he will look to build off of an impressive training camp where he scored a ton of goals.
Strome played for the Arizona Coyotes prior to the Blackhawks, so this will be his first time in the playoffs as well. Although he did not post the same numbers as he did in his debut season with Chicago, he still performed relatively well this season. Even though some injuries this season gave him a tough-time, Strome looks to rebound in a big way once the series begins. It might make it a tad bit easier if he ends up playing on the second line with Patrick Kane, as Kane knows how to singlehandedly light it up in the playoffs. Just ask the Minnesota Wild.
As for the other four, it will be very good for them to gain some valuable playoff experience during their rookie seasons. At some point this season, all four have looked to be building pieces for the long-term future. Brandon Saad and Teuvo Teravainen also made their postseason debuts during their rookie seasons, and we all know how both of them turned out as players. All signs point to great things ahead for the four, and we can only hope that they use the series as a growing opportunity for the future.