So far, you've read about moving on from demons of the past, the future of the head coaching position, and the development of young players in my first three keys. Today, the focus turns to the current roster. How can the remaining stars (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Seth Jones, and Alex DeBrincat) adjust to their new roles? Find out below in key number four:
Help Stars Adjust to New Roles
With a rebuild and development of young players comes a change for many of the veteran players, especially those who have been stalwarts within the organization for several years. I’m thinking mainly of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Alex DeBrincat. As for a veteran who is still new to the team, but will be with the Hawks for the long haul, I’d include defenseman Seth Jones in this list.
Guys like Kane and Toews, who, for their whole careers, have been the “young guys” now need to adjust to life as the “old guys.” What does that look like? It looks like a lot more of leading by example. In the past, Toews could get through to his teammates by showing his frustration and emotion on and off the ice. But that approach may have worn thin with some of the young players who don’t know what success looks like in the NHL.
Kane has been able to lead by being the best player on the ice at all times. Kane can still do that, but now needs to recognize he has players looking up to him.
Same for Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat needs to continue to refine his skills, as he is still a young player himself, but assert himself as a more noticeable leader for the team.
As the primary veteran defensive presence, Seth Jones has his work cut out for him. First and foremost, he needs to play up to his massive contract, which, needless to say, will be difficult. If Jones can be the best defensemen for the Hawks, playing up to his star-level contract, then he will prove himself to be a leader in that way.