I had Pius Suter as the breakout star this season, and while you could say he was, I’m actually going to give it to Brandon Hagel. Hagel had nice chemistry with whoever he played with while being able to play in multiple positions and roles. Not to mention, he scored back-to-back overtime-winning goals for the Blackhawks. For a guy who was a 6th round pick, free-agent signee, it is looking like he’ll have a bright future
Before the season began my hunch was that Pius Suter was going to be the team’s breakout star. I think you could make a case for him to be just that with 27 points, but I’m not sure he’s the breakout star.
I assumed that Suter’s success as a pro in Switzerland would translate over to the NHL, and help him immensely. I still think this is accurate, but Brandon Hagel beat him out for breakout star in my opinion.
Hagel was right behind Suter with 24 points. While Suter adapted very quickly to North America, Hagel has made a case for himself to be a part of the team’s future. As good as Suter was, he proved he belonged in the NHL, but not necessarily in Chicago.
If he’s gone in the off-season it wouldn’t be a surprise. Phillip Kurashev can be the 3rd line center in place of Suter but neither Suter nor Kurshev could take Hagel’s place in the lineup. Hagel is the kind of player that Chicago has been lacking. He plays with a tenacity that only a handful of players have recently had for Chicago, such as Andrew Shaw. The Blackhawks simply need a player like Hagel.
I chose Adam Boqvist as my breakout star, and personally I think he did take a little step forward, just not enough to be the breakout star. Boqvist has 16 points this season the most amongst defensemen on this team. Now all he needs to do is start scoring more and get stronger and the team is set with a solid option. But I mean come on the only answer this season has to be Hagel he was an instant favorite.
Ian Mitchell seemed to me like a guy that was primed to break out this season, and he definitely had a good year. However, after watching all of the games this season, I think this title should go to one of three guys: Kevin Lankinen, Pius Suter, or Brandon Hagel. Each of these three players had remarkable years with very little experience under their wing. In my opinion, any one of them could be worthy of being called a breakout star.