How the Blackhawks power play should look this season
By Jake Wheeler
The Chicago Blackhawks power play has had its ups and downs the last few years. After the return-to-play this past season, their power play left on a good note.
During the Chicago Blackhawks’ golden years, their power play was usually one of the league’s best. This past season, their power play was only at 15.21%, when the league average was around 20%. However, that only takes into account the regular season, but during the return-to-play, notably against the Edmonton Oilers, their power play was firing on all cylinders.
The Blackhawks’ best power play strategy is going with the umbrella. With the number of shooters they have, this will give all of them good looks at the net when they get the puck. The key to any power play is to move the puck around to open the shooting lanes. With the umbrella format, the team can move the puck side to side and high to low, or vice versa.
All of that puck movement will allow for shooting lanes to open or other plays to open up. Their first power-play unit is going to feature a lot of their veteran players, while the second power-play unit will feature a lot of the kids and the future ‘Hawks core.
The Blackhawks’ first power-play unit will consist of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Dominik Kubalik, and Kirby Dach. Keith will play the point and will be the top of the umbrella, while Kane will be on the left-wing boards and Kubalik will be on the right-wing boards. Kane and Keith’s passing will be key for Kubalik’s one-timer. Toews and Dach will be down low in front of the net or in the corner depending on where the puck is. This unit should receive plenty of looks throughout this season.
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The Blackhawks’ second power-play unit will consist of Adam Boqvist, Alex DeBrincat, Alex Nylander, Dylan Strome, and Andrew Shaw. Boqvist will play the point and at the top of the umbrella, while DeBrincat will be on the left-wing and Nylander on the right-wing. Strome and Shaw will be down low in front of the net or in the corners. With Boqvist’s offensive ability, DeBrincat’s one-timer, Nylander’s passing, Strome’s big frame, and Shaw’s tenacity, if given a good opportunity this unit should be able to cash in.
The Blackhawks should not have problems scoring goals this season as it was never really an issue last year. While the Blackhawks should pass the puck around to find the open players, sometimes they pass too much and try to get too fancy. They need to keep it simple because if it is simple, it will be effective.
The ‘Hawks special teams will be one to watch this upcoming season. If they want to have a better season, then they will need to have a good power play and penalty kill. If the Blackhawks can make strides from the return-to-play power-play success, then their power play will only get better.