Scenario Three: Wild Card Shocker
While I do not personally think the Blackhawks are going to shock the world and make the playoffs next season, I also did not think this team would beat Edmonton during the qualifiers. This just feels different in my opinion though.
Chicago is going to be tasked with a tough challenge. They are going to be without two of their core championship players next season, and the supposed division realignment is not going to make things easier for this team.
Even still, if Chicago finds a way to start off the year hot and can win a handful of games during the shortened season then their I guess is a chance this team could sneak into the wildcard position.
While Stan Bowman did come out and say the ‘Hawks are entering a little bit of a rebuild right now, that doesn’t mean the players are not going to try their best to win games. The core Blackhawks do not want to get embarrassed on the ice and lose a lot of games, even if the future of the franchise might be what people care more about.
So in this supposed scenario, Chicago finishes in the final wildcard spot with it coming down to the last game of the season or the last few games.
I would expect the ‘Hawks players and coaches to do their best to push for a wildcard spot throughout the season. It isn’t like they are going to intentionally lose games in order to secure a high draft pick, Bowman basically did that when he didn’t sign Crawford.