The Chicago Blackhawks have officially reached the halfway point of another lost season. You can thank injuries decimating the roster for that.
The forward group is the walking wounded right now. Connor Bedard, Nick Foligno, Anthony Beauvillier, Andreas Athanasiou, Taylor Raddysh, Joey Anderson, and Tyler Johnson are all on injured reserve with Taylor Hall lost for the season. Colin Blackwell missed the first two months of the season as he recovered from an injury that knocked him last February.
Top defenseman Seth Jones has also been on IR since early December. Injuries briefly did a number on the blue line last month with Jared Tinordi spending time on IR. Alex Vlasic missed a game as well. Kevin Korchinski had to be away from the team after the passing of his father.
Add up all that missed time and that is a big reason the Chicago Blackhawks sit at the bottom of the Central Division.
Hopefully, the Blackhawks start to get some of these forwards back soon. Still, it is going to be hard to win games even when the roster returns to full health as it was deficient in elite talent to begin with.
This season was probably going to be lost since the talent level was nowhere near being a playoff contender. The Hawks are in the early stages of building back up the roster after completely tearing it down last season. After game 41 last season, the Hawks had 11 wins so there is some improvement, albeit very incremental.
That does not mean there has not been noteworthy play this season.
The Blackhawks have a superstar to build around in Bedard. They have found two defensemen to be cornerstones on the blue line. They discovered a captain to replace Jonathan Toews even if he does not wear the "C." Another player is having a breakout season, and a goalie is finally staying healthy to round out the six most important players at the midway point.
The rookie sensation has been everything he was forecasted to be. His shot is amazing. His puck skills are tremendous.
He was recently named to his first All-Star team which made him the youngest player ever to be selected. Bedard is not only the most important player for this franchise, but he might be one of the most important players in the NHL.
The league has been marketing him heavily and making him a crossover star. They are trying to use his amazing skills to draw in new audience members. Unfortunately, he will be out the next few weeks with an injury.