3. The plan is still in place
The Blackhawks are not as good at Carolina, Tampa Bay, or Florida. This organization could be mediocre if they really bought into a playoff run this season, but the plan is to aim for something better later down the road.
Stan Bowman did say this organization was going to take a step back and rebuild earlier this year, and that message has proven to be true with the way the team has played recently.
The team is still not as deep as other teams. They are not as talented defensively, and their goaltending still needs work. While a lot of the future pieces are already in the mix, patience is needed when it comes to finding where the team could be within the next few years.
Kevin Lankinen is a great example of what I am talking about. While he did show some promise through his first handful of games, he has also shown some flaws in his game when it comes to rebound control. Lankinen is a rookie goalie, and no one expected him to come into the league perfectly.
Lankinen is already proven to be a great goalie that could be the Hawks starter for the next few seasons, but that also includes knowing he does have some areas to improve on. Corey Crawford had the same issue when he first came into the league. Crawford was on a much better Hawks team at the time, and the big thing he struggled with was his glove hand. Crawford game up some weak goals that he could have stopped but his glove just was not quick enough.
Eventually, he did get better and the Hawks had a franchise goalie for years to come. Let’s wait and see what Lankinen and the other rookies look like in another year or two before expecting too much out of them.
The great thing about Bowman’s plan is that the team already seems to be ahead of schedule. Kurashev, Suter, Lankinen, Hagel, Mitchell, Beaudin, and a lot of other young faces on this team came into the league at a higher level than was probably expected. So that just means the team is a year or two ahead of Bowman’s schedule.