How big of a role did injuries play for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019-20?
By Jimmy Lynch
The Chicago Blackhawks did not have the best season in the world in 2019-20, but injuries did play a role in that.
Zack Smith, Brent Seabrook, Andrew Shaw, Drake Caggiula, and Adam Boqvist all spent some time out of the lineup due to injuries this past season. Chicago definitely was not at their best this past season due to injuries. How big of a role did that play for the Blackhawks?
When contemplating the Blackhawks moves in the 2019 offseason you can not help but think about players like Zack Smith, Andrew Shaw, Calvin de Haan, and Olli Maatta. Well, for everyone on that except for Maatta spent a considerable chunk of the season hurt.
Shaw was placed on injury reserved in early December due to a concussion. Smith went on injury reserved in February and missed the rest of the season after surgery. This ‘Hawks roster had a lot of injuries, some that definitely hurt their depth.
While injuries definitely played a role in the ‘Hawks fall this season, it also was a blessing in disguise. Chicago went to the playoffs without players like Smith, Shaw, and Seabrook. Without those players, they had to turn to younger options for their roster.
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Players like Matthew Highmore and John Quenneville were given shots in the playoffs with Smith and Shaw out of the lineup. Chicago might have been able to put together a better bottom six with their injuries players, but they might not have moved to a rebuild if it was not for how things played out.
Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook missing time also gave the team time to give other defenders opportunities on their blueline. Dennis Gilbert, Lucas Carlsson, Nick Seeler, Adam Boqvist, and Nicolas Beaudin all got a larger opportunity with the Blackhawks this past season due to Seabrook and de Haan missing some time.
Could Chicago have picked up maybe five or six more wins during the regular season if they had all their depth players healthy? – Yeah they probably could have. However, in the long run, these players being out of the lineup helped give the Blackhawks and their fans an indication about where the team could be in the future.
No matter what, I do not think any of these players would have made the difference for the Blackhawks against the Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas was a drastically different team than the Blackhawks. They are faster, meaner, and just better. Chicago was not going to win the Stanley Cup in 2020, and they are not going to next season. However, they are rebuilding the next championship roster!