Why the Blackhawks can rebuild and still make the playoffs
The Chicago Blackhawks rebuild seems to have hit overdrive as the team is playing some of their best hockey in recent years. Chicago still has one more matchup against Tampa Bay this season, but in their last two matchups, they went 1-0-1 and stuck with the best team in the league. While the past two games might have featured some luck, they are still a measuring stick of where the team is at.
The past two games were supposed to be a measuring stick for Chicago. No one really expected the team to go into those back-to-back games and stick with the Lightning. While there were flaws in the team’s play, they still managed to keep the game close.
I almost wonder if Stan Bowman regrets speaking out this offseason when fans were upset with the team’s moves at the start of free agency. The Blackhawks spoke out, calling for a rebuild and saying they are starting a new chapter, but now after 25 games, the team has a 13-7-5 record and are in a playoff spot.
This success is dependent upon the team’s rookies stepping up, and they have in large part. A rebuild does not always have to feature draft lotteries and losing 50 or so games a season. Instead, Chicago can rebuild the team and still make the playoffs.
The Chicago Blackhawks is going on before our eyes and while still leading in the standings.
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Jeremy Colliton has done a great job infusing youth into the lineup night in and night out. His lineups have provided different players opportunities to succeed, and he has done a great job juggling all the different young players and keeping them into games.
The Blackhawks special teams are doing better this season, and they are finding ways to win games despite multiple players missing time with injuries, and COVID protocol has been fun to see.
It seems no matter who gets top minutes on the team; they are still finding ways to get things done. Connor Murphy getting injured looked to be the ending for the ‘Hawks success, and yet they still kept winning in his absence. Then he got back into the lineup, and the team did not miss a beat.
While securing top draft picks is a nice part of a rebuild, it really comes down to the other picks. Kurashev, Mitchell, Hagel, and Carlsson are not first-round draft picks, yet they are now serving roles in Chicago.
Maybe Chicago gets bounced in the first round of the playoffs against a team like Tampa Bay. That definitely could happen, but I think as the season goes along, Chicago proves that they are not just a bad team on a hot streak.