Blackhawks report card following an inevitably bad season

We knew the Chicago Blackhawks 2023-24 season wouldn’t have an ideal finish, but it’s easier to cope with when expected.
Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings
Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings / Harry How/GettyImages
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The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t going anywhere this season, so it would be reckless to grade them based on their points total and how they ranked in certain metrics. If that were the case, then there would be no need to write up a report card as they would have failed every category. 

Instead, they’re getting graded on where they currently stand in their rebuild and how well some of those youngsters who will remain in town for more than just the foreseeable future collectively developed in the offensive and defensive zones and on special teams. 

You can also say the same for next season, as it will be another year of building, but it shouldn’t be exclusively a throwaway campaign. With Connor Bedard and others gaining more experience, their productivity should collectively rise. But 365 days before those grades come in 2025, let’s focus on how well the Hawks played this season in accordance with their current situation. 

Offensive zone play was miserable but there is hope

Given a few years of misery, Blackhawks fans have to be asking, “Why us?” when they look at other teams being purposefully torn down and rebuilt in the different sports leagues. The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals at least showed resilience in nearly every game last year,  much like the MLB’s A’s are doing as they dive deeper into their final season in Oakland. 

But if the NHL’s latest extreme rebuilding project has one thing going for it that the teams mentioned above don’t, it’s that they have a Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid-like talent in Connor Bedard. The Blackhawks may have finished last in goals scored, but at least Bedard wowed everyone with his 22 goals and 61 points across 68 contests. 

Philipp Kurashev also brought hope with 18 goals and 54 points. So, while there isn’t a lot to go on with others in their age-24 or under seasons points-wise, the Hawks have multiple talents who will be scoring threats next season. 

It’s not a lot to go on, but Bedard and Kurashev will give the Hawks a solid C, given the low overall expectations this team had in 2023-24. Why the C? Because the entire team never overachieved, but they also didn’t underachieve in accordance with expectations.