Who Should Make Up The Chicago Blackhawks Penalty Kill
By Jimmy Lynch
The Chicago Blackhawks penalty kill needs to be better next season for the team to win games. Who will make up the special teams?
The Chicago Blackhawks penalty kill was above average last season at 82.13 percent throughout the 70 games played. That is great, and next year Chicago needs to be as good on the P.K. to win games. So who will make up the special teams units?
Chicago has a lot of additions to their roster this coming season. Mattias Janmark, Lucas Wallmark, and Nikita Zadorov all should get opportunities on the P.K., especially considering both Janmark and Wallmark can play center and take faceoffs in the team’s end.
Those three additions should instantly improve Chicago’s chances on the penalty kill. However, the goalies in the net might make things challenging. Chicago is used to having a top-tier goalie in their net every night, thanks to how good Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner were last season.
With three young goalies trying to step into the NHL, Chicago will have to be better in front of their netminders. So, with all that in mind, here is how I want to see the penalty kill shake-up next season.
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Jonathan Toews – Mattias Janmark
David Kampf – Lucas Wallmark
Nikita Zadorov – Connor Murphy
These pairings allow Chicago to have four solid defensive forwards rotating in and out of the P.K. for Chicago. All four of these guys can take faceoffs and steal pucks in the team’s own end. The defensive pairing of Murphy and Zadorov should be able to play physical in front of the net to clear out traffic for the ‘Hawks netminder.
The Blackhawks are going to have a hard time next season if the NHL does realign the divisions and shorten the season significantly. There is not much room for errors, so giving up goals on the special teams needs to be minimal.
When mentioning these penalty kill units, I think there is one crucial thing to note. Colliton will hopefully work some of the younger players into these units as well throughout the year. Why not give Kirby Dach a shot in a critical moment of the game while down a player? The same is also true for Ian Mitchell and Adam Boqvist.
The only way Chicago will be successful is if they stay out of the penalty box, but having pairings like these might give them a chance when they go down a player. The Blackhawks of the early 2010s always found a way to succeed while down a player. They were great all over the ice, and it ended with the Stanley Cup many seasons.
Special teams are critical to the success of a franchise. While Chicago probably won’t be in the playoffs next season, that does not mean they have to fold on all corners of the ice, including the penalty kill.