5 Positive Takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks' First Half of the Season

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 3

Jason Dickinson's career year.

Dickinson was acquired last season as a salary dump by the Vancouver Canucks. He is now a key piece in the team's short-term plans thanks to his career season.

He blew past his career high in goals in the early portions of this season and is on pace to score between 27 and 30 goals. Dickinson earned a two-year contract extension thanks to his production and his locker room presence.

Dickinson wanted even more years on the extension, but two years is a good length to see if this is more than just a career year.

In season where every player on the roster has missed a game, Dickinson skating in all of them has been a welcomed sight.

Nick Foligno emerges as the unofficial captain of the team.

The Blackhawks chose not to name a captain after it was decided Jonathan Toews was not going to be brought back. The speculation going around was the Hawks wanted to keep the "C" open so Bedard could take it in the near future.

The team still needed someone to be the unofficial captain and Foligno has filled that role well. He is past his days of scoring 30 goals, but he is still a productive veteran whom the team has rallied around for guidance. That earned him a two-year extension with the likelihood he will be the team's official captain next season.

That is good for the team in the short term as it is one less thing Bedard has to worry about when it comes to refining his game at the NHL. He can grow into a leadership role. Also, if more prospects keep joining the team at the NHL level, having a vet like Foligno in an official captaincy will go a long toward their development.