The Playoff hopes from the 2021-2022 season didn’t last very long. The Blackhawks went winless in their first nine games, resulting in the firing of head coach Jeremy Colliton. The Hawks then traded Marc-Andre Fleury, Brandon Hagel and Ryan Carpenter at the trade deadline. They went on to finish the season with a 28-42-12 record.
The roster moves continued this offseason with the Blackhawks signaling they’re in full rebuild mode. The Hawks traded both Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach on draft night and stocked up on draft picks. You can learn more about those picks in my previous post.
The DeBrincat and Dach trades were clearly moves toward a rebuild. That brings up the next question fans have to wonder. Is this the last season we’ll see of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Chicago? With both Toews and Kane on the final years of their contracts, it’s conceivable both could be dealt during the season.
There’s plenty of new faces in Chicago. The Blackhawks have new GM in Kyle Davidson, a new head coach in Luke Richardson and plenty of new faces in the lineup. It’s clear it may take some time for everything to come together.
Below we see where the 2021-22 Blackhawks plot out in terms of goals scored and goals allowed per game last season.
What’s really interesting to me in this graph is how clear it is where the competitive teams are and where the non-competitive teams are. Unfortunately for Chicago, they found themselves in that top left region. Those are teams who didn’t score much and got scored on a lot.
When you factor in that the Blackhawks traded away two of their best scoring options, it’s really hard to see them getting out of that top left region. The Blackhawks also lost goalie Kevin Lankinen to Nashville in the offseason. That leaves Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock to begin the year as the goaltending options. Most NHL preseason rankings have the Blackhawks ranked dead last in the NHL in Goaltending.
23-year-old Arvid Soderblom is arguably the best goalie the Blackhawks have, but unless Chicago is actually competitive, it might be better for him the get another year of development in Rockford. After all, last season was just his first in the United States.
2022-2023 Depth Chart
Some positives for the 2022-23 season:
The 2023 Draft Class is stacked
Even if the Hawks finish with one of the worst records in the league, there will be some really talented players available in the upcoming draft. Connor Bedard has been regarded as a generational talent, and either Matvei Michkov, Adam Fantilli, Brayden Yager or Dalibor Dvorsky would really help boost this Blackhawks rebuild.
Lots of Young Talent to Watch
From Lukas Reichel’s development as a playmaker, to Alex Vlasic, Isaak Phillips and Alec Regula on defense. There’s plenty of talent to watch as they begin their careers. They’ll be plenty of other young talent developing in Rockford and amongst Junior Leagues.
Luke Richardson Steps In as Head Coach
This will be his first season at the helm in Chicago. Richardson’s ability to create a culture and keep these Blackhawks competing throughout the year will be something to watch.
The Blackhawks go into the season off of a preseason where they only scored more than one goal in one of their six preseason games. They begin the season Wednesday on the road against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in Colorado. They’ll play again on Thursday in Vegas, so they’ll be up against it from the first drop of the puck.
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