Last Season – Chicago topped the 100 point mark, with a 45-26-11 record. They qualified for the playoffs and fell to Phoenix in the first round.
Saying Goodbye – Andrew Brunette, Brendan Morrison, Sean O’Donnell
Saying Hello – Michal Rozsival, Sheldon Brookbank
Ready to Step In – Rookie Brandon Saad hasn’t had a great start in AHL Rockford, but has the size, speed and skill to step in with the Blackhawks. However, it might be tough to crack the top 2 lines in Chicago so he could be destined to remian in the AHL until an injury forces a call-up.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Jonathan Toews missed the last 22 games of the season due to a concussion. He still averaged almost a point per game, but his absence also affected the production of Patrick Kane.
Hardware Hopefuls – Toews, Selke, Duncan Keith, Norris
Upside – The limited turnover bodes well, as the core for the Hawks has been together for some time. In a short season, the familiarity among the top players and demonstrated chemistry should help them get off to a hot start.
Downside – Corey Crawford has not demonstrated the ability to be classified as a true NHL #1 goalie, and Ray Emery still has his question marks. The goaltending is an obvious question mark (and maybe the only one) for a very good team.
2013 Prognosis – Definitely a playoff team, and a contender to win the Central Division. A full season from Toews will bring up the level of play of everyone on the team, and as long as the goaltending is above average, the Hawks can make some noise and have to be in the conversation for Stanley Cup Contenders.