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Analysis

Blackhawks: The Season Is Over

Jujhar Khaira - Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks
Jujhar Khaira - Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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The Blackhawks season has come to an end. After a rather disappointing season, it’s time to begin one of the most important off-seasons in recent history for the team. Many players have stated that they believe the rebuild will be short, and the team has enough talent to be competing again, really soon. This is tough to believe for many fans, but if the players are buying in and are as bought in already as they say they are, then hopefully everyone is in for a pleasant surprise. 

Unfortunately, the team will likely be losing their first round pick this season. Following the trade for Seth Jones, the Blackhawks only retain their first round pick if it’s the first or second overall selection. If the Blackhawks get lucky and get one of those two selections, then the Blue Jackets receive next year's first round pick. There are plenty of solid prospects this season, but everyone is ramping up for the 2023 draft, so part of me is really hoping the team doesn’t lose their first round pick next season.

Kane finished the season as the team's leading scorer with 92 points in 78 games, while Debrincat had 78 in second place, Jones had 51 in 3rd place, Strome had 48 in 4th place, and Toews had 37 in 5th place, so there were no real surprises in the top 5 for scoring this year. Jones impressed offensively, and even stepped up his defensive game, while the four forwards listed all continued to be dangerous offensively all season, and will likely all be a part of the rebuild. Strome has been mentioned in trade rumours before, but I can’t see the Blackhawks letting him go after the season he just had. 

Nobody really stood out to me as having a “disappointing” season as an individual. Khaira had 3 points through 27 games but has been battling injuries since he signed with the team, and actually didn’t look too bad through the games he was able to play. Kubalik may have slightly underperformed with 32 points through 78 games but I expect a complete 180 next season and even with a lesser offensive performance, he looked solid as a 200 foot player this year. 

The Blackhawks have a lot of holes to feel, and the organization knows it. They’re willing to embrace the rebuild which they’ve been doing, but a lot of players and management seem to think it’s going to be a quick rebuild similar to how the Rangers executed their rebuild. I’m hesitant because the team definitely has the money to make some moves and bring players in but they have players on the team already who are unhappy, they need to find a goaltender they can trust and will want to stay with them long term, and they need to fill out depth in the bottom 6 forward pool and with their bottom 4 defensemen. The amount of needs they have might be too much for a “quick rebuild” so we’ll see if it becomes a dumpster fire.

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