Mid Summer Report: Chicago Blackhawks

download (21)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com

 

As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Chicago Blackhawks

Last Season’s Finish:  47-26-9, 103 pts, 3rd in the Central Division, lost in round 1 of the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • D Brian Campbell (UFA)
  • F Jordin Tootoo (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • F Teuvo Teravainen (Carolina)
  • F Bryan Bickell (Carolina)
  • F Andrew Shaw (Montreal)
  • F Andrew Ladd (NY Islanders)
  • F Dale Weise (Philadelphia)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Richard Panik
  • F Vincent Hinostroza
  • D Ville Pokka
  • F Nick Schmaltz
  • F Tyler Motte

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/14)

  • None

Current Cap Situation as of 8/14/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $70,601,794
  • Current salary cap space: $2,398,206

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger, Richard Panik, Artemi Panarin, Andrew Desjardins, Jordin Tootoo, Vincent Hinostroza, Dennis Rasmussen, Brandon Mashinter
Defensemen
Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Kempny, Erik Gustafsson, Michal Rozsival
Goalies
Corey Crawford, Scott Darling

 

Outlook:

 

Chicago is one of the best teams in the league, period.  In the last 8 years, they have won the Stanley Cup 3 times, lost in the Western Conference Final twice, and lost in the first round of the playoffs 3 times.  All of that extra hockey can be hell on the players, which is likely a factor why last year was one of their first round exits after playing 11 rounds of playoff hockey in the three years prior to that.  So, they should come into this season much more fresh, not that they need it.  They should have no trouble making the playoffs again this season.  They are arguably the most top heavy team in the league, which makes them vulnerable to injuries.  They have a lot of guys with big contracts, so they have no choice to fill the bottom two lines with guys that earn under $1 million per year.  But, no matter what, the Blackhawks can almost treat the regular season as their pre-season.  Once the playoffs begin in April, Chicago will again be the team to beat in the west.