Even though the Chicago Blackhawks did not make the playoffs this year, that doesn’t mean fans can’t root for a team going forward.
Sadly, the Stanley Cup won’t be making an appearance in the Windy City this year, although it’s interesting to consider what could’ve been if the ‘Hawks had played just a little bit better. Despite that, there are some familiar faces still skating onto playoff ice, as a number of former Blackhawks are still in the fight.
The playoffs are inching closer to the second round, and that means the intensity and pace are going to go up. Speaking of former ‘Hawks, Golden Knights forward Mattias Janmark, who was shipped off at the trade deadline, just scored a hat trick in game seven to lift Vegas over the Minnesota Wild.
The Islanders, Bruins, Lightning, Hurricanes, Avalanche, Jets, and Golden Knights have all advanced to the Conference Semifinals already. Toronto leads the Canadiens 3 games to 2, with game six on Saturday night. With all of this being said, which team should Blackhawks fans be cheering for to hoist the Cup this summer?
One obvious choice is the Carolina Hurricanes. The ‘Canes and ‘Hawks have always seemed to enjoy exchanging players. While guys like Scott Darling and Trevor van Riemsdyk may have moved on from the team, forward Teuvo Teravainen is still very much one of Carolina’s forward anchors. I remember how upset I was when the ‘Hawks traded Teuvo, as I felt that he was going to turn into a great player.
It appears that my hunch was correct, as Teravainen has become one of Carolina’s top scorers, and he played a key role in the team’s series win against Nashville. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other teams that have some notable former Blackhawks, though.
Many of my fellow Blackhawk Up contributors picked the Colorado Avalanche to win the Cup, and this would mean that former ‘Hawk Brandon Saad would get to hoist Lord Stanley for the third time. Also on the Avalanche roster is Carl Soderberg, who played 34 games with Chicago with season before heading to Colorado.
These are not the only playoff contenders with former Blackhawks, either, but they are perhaps the most notable. If the average Blackhawks fan were to pick a team to root for looking ahead, they might want to steer towards Carolina or Colorado.
Personally, I’ve gone back and forth between these teams as the two likeliest to win the Stanley Cup this year. After watching Colorado in the first round, I feel that they’ve probably taken over my top spot again. However, the Maple Leafs have also been playing well against Montreal, and it would be amazing to see the Stanley Cup return to Toronto after 52 seasons.
No matter who the Blackhawks fans want to win, and no matter who ends up winning, one thing is for sure: these playoffs have been fantastic so far. Hopefully, the second round will be just as entertaining to watch.