All That Has Transpired: Chicago Blackhawks

Published on September 24th, 2014

We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.

Today, we take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks.

By: Andy Hughes (@PensNation_Andy)

CHI

Chicago Blackhawks

2013-14 Season: 46-21-15  107 points – (3rd Central Division; 5th Western Conference)

Chicago's signing of Brad Richards for $2 million was one of the biggest bargains of the  offseason.(Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

Chicago’s signing of Brad Richards for $2 million was one of the biggest bargains of the offseason.(Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

Free Agents Signed:
C Brad Richards (New York Rangers)
G Michael Leighton
LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie (Tampa Bay)
RW Cody Bass (Columbus)
G Scott Darling
D Kyle Cumiskey (Europe)
C Dennis Rasmussen (Europe)

Free Agents Lost:
G Jason LaBarbera (Anaheim)
RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Europe)
D Brian Connelly (Europe)

Trades:
LW Brandon Bollig to Calgary
for 2014 third-round pick

Promising Prospects:
C Teuvo Teravainen
D Adam Clendening
RW Mark McNeill
D Stephen Johns
RW Ryan Hartman

In my opinion, the Chicago Blackhawks serve as a great model franchise to other sports teams. Their attendance numbers are off the charts, they’ve had recent success and they will be loaded with talent for years to come. The Blackhawks had a good season last year, but not good enough for their standards. Los Angeles defeated the Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final with an overtime goal, which destroyed the Blackhawks’ hopes of repeating as Stanley Cup champions. Luckily for them, the majority of last year’s team is returning and they added a significant player.

That player is veteran center Brad Richards, who was bought out by the New York Rangers earlier in the offseason. Many people say that the Blackhawks didn’t need Richards, but Los Angeles’ great depth at center really hurt the Blackhawks last postseason. Richards immediately makes Chicago better down the middle. Richards registered 20 goals and 51 points last season with the Rangers, so a one-year, $2 million contract for the 34 year-old seems like a bargain. A line with Richards centering Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad could be fun to watch. It’s incredible to see the depth that this team has. A top line of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa has to be considered one of the best lines in hockey, if not the best. Speaking of Toews and Kane, Chicago fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief when the franchise announced they signed both superstars to identical eight-year deals worth $84 million. The new contracts will go into effect during the 2015-16 season, which will be a very interesting season for the Blackhawks. Chicago is already having salary cap issues this season and may have to trade someone before the season begins. Expect another great year from the Blackhawks’ forwards as they are loaded up front. One guy to watch this year is to prospect Teuvo Teravainen, who could have an opportunity to play with the Blackhawks this year.

The entire defense in Chicago from last season is coming back in 2014-15 and that’s incredible. It’s very rare to see that happen in today’s salary cap age, but the Blackhawks were able to pull it off. The top pairing with reigning Norris trophy winner Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook should be dominant again while the other two pairings of Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson and Nick LeddyMichal Rozsival should be able to hold the fort.

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks once again this season, but Chicago will need to get better performances out of him based on his contract. He is the sixth-highest paid goalie in the NHL and he has not played like it. Since they just signed Toews and Kane to huge deals, they will need to get better value out of the Crawford contract or he could be on his way out.

The Blackhawks did not lose any significant, re-signed Kane/Toews and added Richards. Not too bad of an offseason. With so much elite talent up front and on defense, Chicago will be a Stanley Cup contender once again. They will need to stay healthy and have a good season from Crawford to win it all again.

Projected Lineup:

Patrick Sharp – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad- Brad Richards – Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Jeremy Morin
Peter Regin – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith
Joakim Nordstrom – Kris Versteeg

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy – Michal Rozsival
David Rundblad

Corey Crawford
Antti Raanta

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