After two less-than-stellar showings against defending Stanley Cup Champions the Tampa Bay Lightning, making the right roster moves is all the more critical for the Chicago Blackhawks. A combination of injuries and available young talent continues to add to the uncertainty of the season. However, these two Blackhawks could surprise fans in the games ahead.
Fans know this forward can make an impact but are also aware of his inconsistency. Along with dealing with injuries and missed time, he scored 17 goals and 34 assists in 58 games in his first season with the Blackhawks and 12 goals and 20 goals and 37 assists last season. However, fans are yet to find how he will truly contribute as Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander recover from injuries.
Strome got after it in both games of the Tampa Bay series. Specifically, the forward snatched a power-play goal in the first matchup and an assist in the second. In all, Strome’s performance against defending champions may mark a shift toward more cohesive play and possibly a leadership role.
While Malcolm Subban’s performance against the defending champions in Tampa Bay is no reason to discount his impact between the pipes in the coming season, Lankinen has made a memorable impression before even making his NHL debut.
The goaltender represented Finland in the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship tournament and led his team to the gold with a 94.20% save percentage, the second-highest of the tournament. He also outperformed Malcolm Subban and Colin Delia in summer training.
Lankinen knows he has room to improve when it comes to his skating, and he is putting in the effort. On a Zoom call with Blackhawks media, Lankinen explained, “I’m just working on my mobility with my skates… I’m trying to be more up on my skates instead of out-of-line sliding. I try to beat the pass with my feet, try to be more upright a little bit. I try to rely on that quickness in my feet and get set before the shot comes.”
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