We’ve reached the NHL All-Star Break and the Chicago Blackhawks once again find themselves in the league’s basement. This was not unexpected, of course.
General Manager Kyle Davidson has been upfront with fans and the media that the Hawks need to replenish their roster with young, elite talent before they can contend for Stanley Cups again. That takes time.
What was unexpected was the barrage of injuries the squad has endured, highlighted by Connor Bedard’s broken jaw, and the team’s offensive impotence.
As the players decompress and recover from a difficult 50 games, let’s hand out some report cards evaluating their performances this season...
Forwards (Part 1)
Nick Foligno: A
Foligno has done everything Davidson could have asked from him when he traded for his rights and signed him this offseason. His unrelenting competitiveness every night has endeared him to teammates and fans alike, with many clamoring for him to be named captain after he inked a two-year extension in January. He’s chipped in some offense where possible and has taken it upon himself to show the team’s young core how to be professionals.
Jason Dickinson: A
Like Foligno, Dickinson recently earned himself a two-year extension and was named a member of the Hawks’ leadership group this season. He has already bested his career high in goals (15) and is well on his way to surpassing his career high in points. Dickinson has displayed strong two-way play year-round, taking on opponents’ top offensive units and playing on the Hawks’ first penalty kill unit.
Philipp Kurashev: B+
I think Kurashev has put together a really solid year thus far. His offensive numbers may not pop off the page (24 points in 43 games), but he has brought speed and creativity to the Hawks’ first line consistently. He seems to have meshed well on Bedard’s wing and looks to be a fixture in the team’s lineup for years to come.