Hockey World Blog Season Previews 2010: Chicago Blackhawks

Key Offseason Losses: Antti Niemi, Andrew Ladd, John Madden, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Dustin Byfuglien, Cristobal Huet

Key Offseason Additions: Ryan Potulny, Marty Turco

Last Season Ranking: 2nd, West. Stanley Cup Champions

Offense: Much is to be desired about the defending Stanley Cup Champions and their offensive power. Young leaders Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane had very good stats last season. Toews was one point shy of his career high posting 68 points in 76 games and a very impressive +22 rating. Kane however did go above and beyond his previous career high of 72 points, only to match his player number at 88 points. That total came from 30 goals and 58 assists, 29 of those points on the powerplay.

The team however has lost a lot of talent, mainly to the Atlanta Thrashers in a 7 man deal, but still looks to compete in this upcoming season and defend their reigning title. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa need to have another excellent year to help carry the load. Sharp alos had a career high of 66 points last season, while Hossa nearly had a career low with only 51 points. Hossa was battling injuries from his head to his toes last season, but if healthy, could very well reach numbers in the 70 and up range.

Defense: What a great year for Duncan Keith last season. A career high of 69 points, loses almost all his teeth, and a Stanley Cup ring. Keith will be the backbone of the defense and will most likely be the leading time on ice player for the Blackhawks.

The rest of the defending core needs to step up this year. Young Niklas Hjalmarsson looks to improve upon his first career full season, 17 points in 77 games and a +9 rating. Injury plagued Brian Campbell looks to play a full season and returning to his once 50+ point season days. Lastly, Brent Seabrook will be given more time on ice after his 30 point, +20 season last year.

Sure Andrew Ladd may not be with team, as many other players, still you cannot count out the young and talented Chicago Blackhawks for a reapeat.
Sure Andrew Ladd may not be with team, as many other players, still you cannot count out the young and talented Chicago Blackhawks for a repeat.

Goaltending: If there ever was a question of GM Stan Bowman’s decisions, it lies in the goalie fiasco. Cristobal Huet is heading to the Swiss league and Antti Niemi is now on Conference rival the San Jose Sharks. Together, two combined for a 52-21-8 record. That is a whole lot of wins gone out the door.

The Blackhawks instead have decided to sign veteran, on his way out of the league, Marty Turco. Turco has spent all his days in the Dallas Stars organization, so it will be interesting to see how he fares with a new team. In Turco’s career he has a 262-154-37 record, as well as 26 ties in there from the old days, as well as a combined 2.31 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

Since Turco is not quite a young whipper snapper, backup net-minder Corey Crawford will get more playing time this season.  With only 8 game splayed in 3 seasons, it sure will be interesting to see how he does with more time. Crawford is a butterfly goalie excelling at stopping the first initial shot.

Season Outlook: It is tough to say what to expect from the reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Chicago Blackhawks. Indeed the team went all out last season in going for victory or nothing, but the team still does have a talented, young core of players. Many fans have written them off this year, however once they make the playoffs, anything can happen in a 7 game series.

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