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Almost Over

April 2, 2018, 9:15 AM ET [228 Comments]
Justin Lowe
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT



2016-17 -109 points
2018-18 - 74 points (3 games remaining)


The above decrease looks alarming, but even Joel Quenneville has admitted last years team looked better in the standings than on the ice.

The Hawks deficiencies were covered up by Corey Crawford/Scott Darling and some clutch veteran play at times defensively and offensively to hold on to win a lot of 1-goal games.

This year it's not all goaltending, but let's just say the Hawks back-stoppers didn't steal many games.

In 2016-17 the Hawks used only Crawford and Darling, who combined for a 2.49 GAA, .920 SV% and 4 shutouts.

This year, injuries and lack of depth have seen the Hawks have used 6 goalies. That's the most since 2003-04. Who can name those goalies from that 03-04 season (without looking them up)?

With Crawford out for a good chunk of the season, obviously, the team has struggled to keep the puck out of the net.

2017-18 has the Hawks sitting at a 2.92 GAA, .911 SV% and 2 shutouts.

Now moving on to that clutch play; Last year the Hawks record in 1-goal games was 11-9. This year they are just 3-8. (Note: these numbers overall seem due to empty net goals).

Further to that, there is this weird trend where this 17-18 team has been very good at grabbing an early lead with the 1st goal of the game but cannot seem to play 60 mins to close it out.

When scoring 1st, the Blackhawks record over the last couple years has been:

* 2017-18 – 25-15-6
* 2016-17 – 37-8-5


So some work needs to be done this offseason. Based on the above, stability in net needs to be addressed. Maybe that's a combination of a new backup goalie + an upgrade (or 2) on D or depending on Crow's health, maybe Stan grabs more of a 1B goalie.

Next, on the list today, icing a team that gets back to their ways of having the ability to hold on to leads and scoring clutch goals late in games.

Both of these areas involve improving depth up front and on D.

Honestly, I'm feeling better than I thought with the forwards. I have seen some projections on lines next year and I see an awful amount of young guys again. I think if this team wants to get back to winning consistently, they need to mix in a couple veterans as well in the offseason, preferably a couple guys with grit/pushback and maybe someone who can win faceoffs (to help with those 1 goal games). I'd be happy with Wingels coming back, and then adding in a Jay Beagle/Antoine Vermette type bottom-6 centre.

I focused a lot on the defence as of late, so you know my thoughts there. I think they will add a shutdown type defender in the offseason and the rest with sort itself out. There are a lot of bodies signed on the backend for 2017-18 already, but it's all about finding that right mix.

These are my thoughts but hey, what do I know. Whatever happens in the offseason, I'm excited and slightly nervous to see what happens. It's a massive offseason for this organization and they don't have a lot of room for error if they want to turn this thing around sooner than later.

There are 3 games in this season (next game on Wed vs. Blues) and then the real work begins for the Hawks executive team.

See ya out there!

JL


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ICYMI


Rockford Playoff Push: a YUGE comeback win on Saturday vs. San Jose by the Hogs has given them some breathing room in the standings. They are now up 7 points from the 5th place team in the division and are on a 4 game winning streak.

They hope to keep this up as they hit the road playing: San Antonio (Wed), Texas (Fri) & Texas again (Sat).

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