The Chicago Blackhawks might be one of the most interesting teams in hockey right now. While they are not a great team, they are a good team capable of some success, and the good thing is they will only get better with time.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in the midst of a rebuild, and yet they find themselves in the hunt for a playoff spot. While the past few days have been rough and the week to come does not look any easier, the Blackhawks could be a playoff team this summer if they can just split even.
Being a rebuilding team is often coincided with losing. Usually, rebuilders drop countless games throughout the regular season in order to pick up as many draft picks as they can. This Blackhawks team is not following that path.
Maybe that was Stan Bowman’s plan and the Hawks players are not making that a reality, or maybe Bowman expected the newcomers on the roster to play this well from the start. Either way, Chicago has been a fun team to watch, and the added bonus is they are still on the path of their rebuild.
Rebuilding does not always mean losing, and that is just an added bonus for the Chicago Blackhawks.
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The Blackhawks youth is already in their lineup. The defense has three young stars making their way up in the NHL in Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, and Nicolas Beaudin. The forwards have players like Brandon Hagel, Philipp Kurashev, Pius Suter, and Matthew Highmore all playing critical roles despite being so young.
It is also funny to consider the role Alex DeBrincat has taken on this team. DeBrincat is having a bounce-back season from last year and is having a lot of success alongside Patrick Kane for the first time in his career. DeBrincat is one of the veteran players on this team at this point, but he is only 23 years old. He is going to definitely have a promising career with the Blackhawks.
One rookie that has been lights out this season is Brandon Hagel. Hagel has not had that much success when it comes to scoring goals, but his contributions away from the puck have been important.
He reminds me of a player like Drake Caggiula, someone that can play with anyone on the ice. Hagel has found a spark alongside Dominik Kubalik and the two have been building some great chemistry as of late. I would not mind seeing the two play with Jonathan Toews sometime in the future when he is fit to play.
While the Blackhawks could go after a first overall pick in the draft and try to lose the remainder of their games, trying to get into the playoffs also won’t hurt the rebuild. Bowman needs to continue to find gems in the draft as he did with Kurashev, DeBrincat, and Beaudin, all players not drafted in the top ten, in face DeBrincat was in the second round while Kurashev was in the fourth.
The Blackhawks are not a championship team, but they can be a playoff team if they continue to play to their strengths and show up every night for 60 minutes. Getting some playoff experience and having the young guys play in big games will help keep this roster on track. I am excited to see how far this team can go.