The Chicago Blackhawks head into the All-Star break dead last in the NHL. The Hawks have lost a franchise record 20 straight road games and the offense is tied with the San Jose Sharks as the league's worst.
Injuries to a roster that was already thin on top-tier talent are a big reason that the Hawks are currently at the top of the Tankathon.com/NHL standings.
While winning the NHL Draft Lottery again would allow the Chicago Blackhawks to draft another generational talent in Macklin Celebrini, it has been tough to watch how this team has gotten to this point for the second consecutive season.
Last year the team was built to tank to land the draft rights to Connor Bedard. Plus, Hawks fans got to watch Patrick Kane's and Jonathan Toews' farewell tour. This season was probably going to end without a playoff appearance, but it was not supposed to be this bad after Bedard was drafted.
However, this is the first season after the roster teardown was completed. There was a good chance the Blackhawks would not be much better this season. Injuries have made this team even worse.
This recent stretch has been even harder to watch as the Blackhawks have been shut out in four of the past five games. It is not for a lack of trying as the Hawks are getting shots off. They are just not finding the back of the net.
All has not been doom and gloom this season despite what the standings say. Context shows there are five positive takeaways during the season's first half.
Connor Bedard has lived up to the pre-draft hype.
He was the clear-cut favorite to win the Calder Trophy before he fractured his jaw earlier this month. Bedard will not return to the ice for a couple more weeks, but when he was on it, he was phenomenal.
Bedard still leads the team in points despite missing the past 11 games. He was named the youngest All-Star ever. He is the cornerstone player this franchise needs to build the next great team around. Adding elite talent around him is the next phase of the rebuild.