Staff Predictions for the Chicago Blackhawks 2020-21 season
By Jimmy Lynch
Chicago’s breakout star in 2021 will be…
Pius Suter will probably be the breakout star for the year, but he’s already been a pro. Does this really count as a breakout? If so, then definitely Suter. He might just be able to comfortably transition from playing in Switzerland to North America, and that would be great for him and the team. Otherwise, there are going to be a lot of rookies moving in and out of the team all year, especially on defense. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ian Mitchell impressed when gets his chances.
Adam Boqvist- While in the OHL, Boqvist scored an impressive 60 points in 54 games. He struggled a bit in his first year with the Blackhawks, but it’s arguable that, at age 19, he wasn’t ready to play on a top-line pairing. With a full year under his belt, the game will slow down for Boqvist allowing him to add some offensive production. Look for him to captain the power play as well.
As bad as this team will probably be, there will still be fun players to watch. I believe the Blackhawks breakout star this season will be Ian Mitchell. From everything we’ve seen in training camp and his college tape, I think Mitchell could be everything we hoped to see out of him sooner rather than later. A rookie season for the ages like Makar and Hughes turned in is out of the question, but solid all-around play with 25-ish points is reasonable.
I think that Ian Mitchell is bound to have a great season. He was an absolute beast at the University of Denver and should get a decent look at a top-four spot this season with the ‘Hawks. The Blackhawks’ current defensive lineup is a bit thin, especially with Seabrook’s future uncertain, so Mitchell should definitely get a chance to shine. He’s looked good at training camp so far, so hopefully, that play will continue into the regular season.
Pius Suter – Most of us Blackhawks fans know the name by now, but the hockey world likely doesn’t. Pius Suter has already proven he’s a star around the world, he just hasn’t had the same opportunity to do so in the NHL. Now’s his chance and with the landscape set in front of him, where it can only go up from here for the team, it’s the perfect time for the forward to make his presence felt. Whether through his OHL experience or time in Europe, Suter has proven that he progresses successfully. As illustrated with his Swiss League MVP in 2019-20.
Chicago’s break out star in 2021 will be Ian Mitchell. The kid can skate. He can move the puck out of the zone and will not get beat around the corner getting back. I know it’s a leap from the collegiate level to the NHL, but I think he has the poise to make good decisions even with less time and space.
Many people expect Pius Suter to be the breakout star and while I don’t disagree, my selection is going to be a guy who hasn’t been hyped up as much. I’m going to go with Lucas Wallmark. While Wallmark may not necessarily tally a ton of points, he has a very good two-way game.
This is an attribute that Chicago has lacked ever since the Marian Hossa days. With Saad being traded and the lack of center depth in the organization right now, Wallmark is going to get the biggest opportunity so far in his career. He’s still only 25 years old so there’s time for him to grow. He’s played very well in Carolina and Florida with limited opportunities, so I’m excited to see what he will be able to do in this big of a role.
Chicago’s break out star this season will be Pius Suter. Just like Kubalik last season, I think Suter has enough pro experience under his belt to allow him to have a comfortable and defined role with the Hawks this season. He may not be the pure goal scorer that Kubalik is, but if Suter can win face-offs, get 30-35 points and be responsible defensively, it will be a good rookie season for him.
I do not disagree with any of the names the other staffers at Blackhawk Up has put thus far. Hopefully, Suter and Mitchell can have great rookie campaigns. My pick has to be Adam Boqvist. After dipping his toes in the NHL during his rookie season Chicago needs to see their former eighth overall pick take a big step forward.