As we near the halfway point of the season, the Blackhawks find themselves sitting well outside the playoff picture with a record of 13-18-5. While this is still disappointing considering the major moves made in the off-season, there have been stretches where the Blackhawks look like they can right the ship and make a run still. Here are some players that need to step up in order for the Blackhawks to make a run:
At the beginning of the year, it was an awesome sight to see longtime Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews back on the ice. For about the first 20 or so games, he truly did not look like himself only putting up 10 points in the first 26 games. Although he started the season on the wrong foot, over his last 10 games he has put up 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists). His leadership along with his play will be key if the Blackhawks want to have any shot of turning their season around.
Another guy who I think needs to step up is Dominik Kubalik. Kubalik has only managed to score 12 points in 36 games including just 6 goals. In his first two seasons in the NHL, he scored 47 goals in just over 100 games played. We know he can put the puck in the back of the net, we just need to see him get more opportunity to do so. if he can get hot in the next couple of weeks, he can hopefully help get the forward group on track.
Last but not least, Kirby Dach, who has struggled mightily since starting the season hot. There have been many games where he has looked like the best player on the ice and others where he looks completely lost. I'm not sure if the coaching change during the season negatively affected him or what, but he needs to become a more consistent player down the stretch. He hasn't yet taken the next jump in his development with this being his 3rd season but 2nd full season in the NHL. The potential is still there, but he needs to show the Blackhawks front office and coaching staff much more of what he can do.