The Chicago Blackhawks season has been over for seven days now with the last game occurring last Monday against the Dallas Stars. While the Hawks won’t be playing again anytime soon, there is still a lot to talk about.
The Blackhawks ended their season with a record of 24-25-7, something that if you told the team was going to finish in that position to start the season I probably would have been okay with it. Hockey is still going on, and it stinks that the Hawks are out.
With all the games on TV, it had me thinking about a few things revolving around the Blackhawks.
So here are a couple of thoughts on the Blackhawks a week into the off-season following the season:
1. Not making the playoffs is probably for the best
The Blackhawks were not set up to go on a playoff run. Now they can work on improving the team this off-season and will have a better draft pick than if they did make it. Plus not making the playoffs gives these players a chip on their shoulder with a goal in mind.
2. Goaltending needs to be improved
The first couple of days of the playoffs have shown just how important goaltending is. While throughout the course of a long regular season, you can hide behind two or three netminders as the Hawks did, the playoffs are different. Chicago needs to find that difference maker that can steal games.
3. The core is not the core it used to be
Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane were all that was left of that core group that won three Stanley Cups this season. While Toews hopefully should be back next year, that core group is already different. We will have a lot of time to talk about that future core, but it is awesome how. many young players are finding their own together gaining experience and chemistry.
4. What is going to be next season’s realistic expectation?
This year it seemed like finishing around 500 would be a realistic goal. However next season things have to take a step forward. I know not everyone believes this team can be better next year, and that thought probably does have some truth. However, if I am being honest I still think next season’s expectation should be closer to the playoffs. Not just a team that could sneak in, but one that makes sense being there.
5. What will the future leadership group look like?
The future leadership of the Blackhawks is probably already playing. Who will wear the C and As when Toews, Kane, and Keith call it a career and hang up the skates. While all three have had long careers with the team and have done some pretty great things, the team is not going to stop altogether when they are done. Although by then Keith could be leading the Hawks in one important category.
A lot of great playoff hockey to watch, what has been your favorite game so far?