4. April 12th at Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a terrifically coached team with one of the NHL’s best defensive systems. With Seth Jones leading the charge, the Jackets are a tough team to play against no matter how good the opponent thinks they are. Chicago will be cautious not to underestimate this opponent, including the night of the trade deadline.
This game is mostly on this list because it falls on the day of the NHL trade deadline. This day will determine whether or not the ‘Hawks will be buyers or sellers during the deadline, as well as where the franchise sees themselves in their path towards making the playoffs again.
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I think we can all expect Chicago to be sellers at the deadline. However, the world seller is misleading. The 1946 movie It’s a Wonderful Life features a scene where there is a run on the bank. With no cash around at the moment, the people in the town could turn to Mr. Potter and sell their shares for 50 cents on the dollar, but George Bailey sees through the scam and tries to explain to everyone that Potter isn’t selling. He is buying their shares for a horrible deal.
Sorry for that little movie spiel; it is the holiday season, and there was a point to it. If Chicago can “sell” some of their assets at the deadline, they would really be buying more important draft picks and prospects for their future.
Chicago holds all the cards when it comes to trading away pieces like Mattias Janmark, Carl Soderberg, Calvin de Haan, or any other player on this roster not apart of our untouchable list. Hopefully, Bowman will start doing a better job with the return on trades for players that could be difference makers on an opponent’s team.
The matchup against the Blue Jackets will be the first matchup following the deadline earlier during the day, so it will be a complete Blackhawks lineup for the 2021 season that night.
5. May 8th vs Dallas Stars
The last matchup to have your eye on will come as the last game of the season for the Chicago Blackhawks. Who knows where the 2021 season will take the NHL, but hopefully, it will make its way to completion in May if COVID doesn’t have anything to say about it.
Chicago will either be gearing up for a playoff appearance or gearing up for a draft lottery during the coming weeks, with both being intriguing to watch for Blackhawks fans. This matchup might not mean anything when it comes around, thanks to where teams will already be in the standings, but it could be the last piece of hockey Blackhawks fans will have to watch until October, so I will be watching intently!
With only 56 games and every matchup being against divisional opponents, every game matters that much more. Are there any other key matchups we missed during 2021? Anytime Joel Quenneville comes to town will be fun to watch, plus Chicago still does have some rivals down in Nashville, so there are plenty of dates to circle on the calendar.