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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Defensive zone play did not fare much better

The defense was admittedly a mess, finishing 29th in goals allowed with 290, but it’s better than the 301 this team gave up last season. We also need to remember that there was a lot of youth in the defensive rotation this past season, plus players like Connor Murphy, Nikita Zaitsev, Jarred Tinordi, Jaycob Megna, and Seth Jones, none of whom figure to be anything more than stopgaps. 

Chicago also had a few defense-oriented forwards, but much like the blueliners mentioned above, none of them will be in town much longer. As with the lack of scoring, the Hawks defensive play was little more than we expected, so there is no real reason to give it a bad grade despite the subpar results. 

It’s also worth mentioning the Blackhawks only had one solid goaltender who started just 53 games in Petr Mrazek. The other, Arvid Soderblom, made what could have been at least some serviceable performances in the defensive zone look rather miserable, given his consistently poor outings. 

As with the team’s performance in the offensive zone, let’s give them a fair grade of a C-minus,. But in 2024-25, the younger players should see more ice time, and since a few of them gained some experience, improvements will be expected.