Making the case for the 2020-21 Chicago Blackhawks:
Yes, this team has fallen off during the past month, but even still, let’s just look at the roster. Chicago has a handful of rookies: Brandon Hagel, Philipp Kurashev, Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Kevin Lankinen, and Pius Suter all began their careers this season in the NHL, and yet the Hawks have not missed a beat.
Chicago has looked competitive despite not having some big-name players in their lineup. Compared to last year, the lineup is getting more scoring from the bottom six, and the bottom six in general just looks more competitive.
The defense, which does feature most of the same players, is more competitive as well. Adam Boqvist has taken a step in the right direction since missing time due to COVID, and the additions of Nikita Zadorov, Ian Mitchell, and Nicolas Beaudin makes the group better than what the team had last season.
The only real areas this year’s lineup is lacking is their goaltending and center depth. Losing Jonathan Toews for the year definitely does not help the team in the faceoff dot, and that is a big point for the 2019-20 team.