We enter game #78 tonight on the 2017-18 season. The opponent? The Winnipeg Jets who sit 32 points ahead of the Blackhawks. 32!
At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Hawks would be in a dogfight for one of the last few playoffs seeds, but ultimately would get in. I did not think I'd be writing that their 32 points behind the Winnipeg Jets and sit dead last in the Central Division… by a lot.
For the first time in 10 years though, we can all have some "different" conversations. There is some great team reflection and draft chatter on the boards lately.
In regards to the draft, the ideal scenario would be to win the lottery and draft Rasmus Dahlin. That's obvious. However, the more realistic scenario that could work out best for the Hawks is if they were able to scoop any of the next top-ranked defencemen.
I know most are clamouring for a Tkachuk or Wahlstrom, but I'm going to beat the defence drum again. Snagging Boqvist, Dobson or Bouchard might not be as "fun" now as it's rare that Dmen jump right into the NHL, but in a few years, we will all be looking back at this summer and realizing it was the best move for this team.
Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook (and Niklas Hjalmarsson) were the foundation of this championship caliber team that was taken for granted for years. Sure, they were appreciated, but often overlooked which is understandable when you had Toews and Kane upfront.
Stan has bet big on drafting defenders as of late and I for one wouldn't be mad if the Hawks were able to foster incredible defensive talent. I mean, I know we all hate the Nashville Predators, but you have to be so damn jealous of their D over the years.
That's my take on the draft and will have more in-depth material coming out leading up to the draft.
Finally, everyone, remember this day. This is day #1 of Dylan Sikura's career as a pro. He's going to save us all from our misery, right?
Seriously though, as I wrote earlier this week, I think he'll be a solid depth player and help push the speed and skill movement that the Hawks are searching for. I'm excited to see what the kid can do at the NHL level, but also don't expect much in 5 meaningless games either.
See ya out there!
Rockford Playoff Push: Thanks to back-to-back wins vs. Manitoba, the Hogs currently sit in a playoff position by 5 points. Their next game is on Saturday vs. San Jose.
It must feel like the Rockford B & B with so many guys coming and leaving, but the team has been stable enough to get on a bit of a role.
They will be relying on Glass and Berube as their goaltending duo for their playoff push. Colin Delia is now up with the Hawks and as much as I'm happy for him, it shows you just how bad this season has gone. He will be the 5th goalie used this year when he gets the nod vs. Colorado tomorrow night.
Prospect Signing Spree: Stan has been very busy lately, racking up the overall team contracts by locking in Dylan Sikura, Joni Tuulola and Blake Hillman. As a team, they currently have 47 contracts for this year with 35 committed to next year (as per CapFriendly).