The Chicago Blackhawks finally made it to the NHL All-Star break. So far, this season has been rough for the Blackhawks and fans alike. At the half-way point, the Blackhawks find themselves dead last in the Central Division and a team lacking any sort of identity.
This Blackhawks team doesn’t know if they’re going to get blown out by another last place team or if they’ll beat one of the best teams in the NHL. More often then not it seems like most nights the Blackhawks are just going through the motions with no heart involved.
This isn’t what the cost of three Stanley Cups looks like, this is what complacency from a Blackhawks organization’s refusal to make tough business decisions, the willingness to give out bloated contracts, an aging defensive core and young players trying to find their groove in the NHL looks like.
Believe it or not, the Chicago Blackhawks have actually had good things happen to them in the first half of the season despite the mountain they have to climb to get back into a wild card spot.
First Half Positives
- Alex DeBrincat: The rookie has had an impressive inaugural season with 17 goals and 32 points so far. DeBrincat looks like he’s going to be a big part of the Blackhawks’ future.
- Jordan Oesterle: The offensively-minded defenseman has been a big surprise for the Blackhawks. Oesterle has really taken his opportunity to play with Keith in stride, racking up 3 goals, 7 assists and 10 points in 24 games.
- Vinnie Hinostroza: Hinostroza brings much needed speed and skill to the Blackhawks line up. After spending most of the season in the AHL he’s shown that he belongs in the NHL.
- Patrick Kane: Kane has been the only consistent player on the Blackhawks so far this season and at times he looks like he’s the only player trying to win. Kane is on his way to another great season.
- Connor Murphy: It was a rough start for Murphy this season, now he’s among the best defensemen on the Blackhawks. He just needed time to adjust to the Blackhawks system and slow his game down.
- Acquiring Anthony Duclair: This is already Bowman’s best trade of the year. He was able to get a younger, cheaper and more skilled player in exchange for a struggling Panik. It will be fun to watch Duclair, Hinostroza and DeBrincat develop together.
First Half Negatives
- Ryan Hartman: Hartman has regressed from last year, he’s become more like the bad part of Andrew Shaw. I would hope that he will turn it around in the second half,
- Brandon Saad: Saad has had a disappointing return to the Blackhawks. He’s gone through a lot of goal and pointless streaks this season, it might be time to take him off the first line and switch things up for him. The Blackhawks need him to start producing.
- Duncan Keith: Keith hasn’t looked too good this year and its starting to look like he’s on the decline. He has yet to score a goal and is finding himself left off of the power play.
- Brent Seabrook: Seabrook looks overwhelmed at times and is often caught flat-footed. It’s no secret that Seabrook hasn’t been good and there’s nothing the Hawks can do about it.
- Power Play: The power play has been painful to watch. The Blackhawks power play percentage is at 15.5% while the league average is at 19%, it needs to be better if the Blackhawks want to get back into a playoff spot.
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