The Chicago Blackhawks are a competitive team right now, and that is without some of their biggest stars. Yesterday saw the team bring back Kirby Dach, and it had me thinking about how good this team could be once some of their other missing pieces get back into the lineup.
Chicago has the power to be a competitive team in the league sooner rather than later. They are just missing a few pieces before they can really take that next jump in the standings. While I do not think they will get back to the star power in this current division, once the team is back in the old central the Hawks are going to be a top-tier team.
Chicago could definitely be a top team next season when they are back with Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota, Winnipeg, Dallas, Arizona, and Nashville. The old Central Division does not include any team like the Lightning or Hurricanes. Instead, the Hawks can be one of those top teams themselves, and with who they are hopefully going to get back next season, the chances of them turning things around is high.
The Hawks are without Jonathan Toews, Andrew Shaw, and Alexander Nylander this season due to injuries. While we do not know when Toews will be back, for this example right now we are going to assume he is back next season.
Here is a projected look at the Chicago Blackhawks lines for next season.
Alex DeBrincat – Kirby Dach – Patrick Kane
Dominik Kubalik – Jonathan Toews – Brandon Hagel
Alex Nylander – Pius Suter – Dylan Strome
Ryan Carpenter – David Kampf – Philipp Kurashev
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These are not the worst forward pairings in the world. The top six is really great if I am being honest. Kubalik and Hagel have some great chemistry and the team definitely could put Jonathan Toews in between them and find success. The third line of Nylander Suter and Strome might need some adjustments as usually a bigger more physical third line is something the Hawks would want to see.
This does not include Andrew Shaw as I would consider him to be the scratched player right now, but I do not think the entire group will be brought back next season as someone might get traded or not resigned so this grouping could look different ahead of the new year.
Another interesting couple of pieces will be Lukas Reichel and Mattias Janmark. If the Hawks do not send Janmark out in a trade within the next few weeks then you would have to imagine the team sees him as apart of the long-term picture here. As for Reichel, he has been great this season for Eisbären Berlin and he could make the jump to the NHL next season as he has 22 points in 27 games this season.
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What do you think the lineup could look like next season? Yes, the Hawks have been competitive this year, but next season they could be even better after getting some familiar faces back as well as letting their young guys progress another season.