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Offseason Report: Chicago Blackhawks

Jul 26, 2012, 9:45 AM EDT

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane AP

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

45-26-11, 101 points. Sixth in the Western Conference. Fourth in the Central Division. Lost to Phoenix in the first round (4-2).

Additions

Sheldon Brookbank. No really, that’s it.

Departures

Cristobal Huet, Sean O’Donnell (retired), Brendan Morrison, Andrew Brunette

2012 Draft

1st Round, 18th overall — Teuvo Teravainen (Jokerit – Finland)

Looking back

If there was an upside to Chicago’s disappointing season it’s that they could score goals plenty. They finished sixth in the league in goals for and had five players score 20 or more with a sixth player (Dave Bolland) end the year with 19. Patrick Sharp topped the team with 33 and survived a season that saw captain Jonathan Toews miss 23 games with injury. While Patrick Kane went through the motions, Marian Hossa had a huge year up until Raffi Torres took his head off in the playoffs.

Chicago’s main problems came in goal, however, thanks to a season filled with regression for starter Corey Crawford. His goals against average jumped by almost half a goal and his save percentage fell off 14 points compared to last season. Ray Emery was perfectly mediocre as his backup. While both guys saw spurts where they looked like they’d seize control of the starting job, they both turned out to be just average.

Looking forward

The Blackhawks bring back virtually the same team as last year. A fully healthy Toews and a more focused Kane can help pick up the offense even more. If Hossa can return to full speed after his massive concussion in the playoffs would be huge. Chicago still hasn’t figured out what to do about a No. 2 center, however. Even the Capitals found a way to address that issue finally.

On defense, things are strong as ever. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are studs while Nick Leddy brings hope he can become their permanent second pairing fixture. Chicago could use a bounce back season from Niklas Hjalmarsson, however, as the remainder of the blue line corps shapes up to be a slew of third-pairing guys. Maybe rookie Dylan Olsen can rise to the challenge.

Goal remains a major question mark with both Crawford and Emery returning. No wonder why the Blackhawks have been sniffing around at Roberto Luongo‘s availability. The thought of him donning the black and red has been haunting Hawks fans all summer. On the upside, the rest of the Central Division saw big losses and have lots of questions. Staying pat might’ve been GM Stan Bowman’s best move.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Blackhawks’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. dadleyrussell - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Pssst….. Brent Seabrook……not Keith…. ;)

    • ron05342 - Jul 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      These guys don’t use editors and sometimes they read the comments and don’t even make the corrections. Go figure.

  2. tfaltin - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Have there been any reports of the Blackhawks investigating Tim Thomas? I haven’t heard anything and I’m not sure why. If they traded for a rested Thomas, they’d be right up there as favorites in the West. I’m not convinced Thomas gives a ____ about catching up on friends, family and faith. Rather I think he got sick of Boston media slamming him for his political statements (I live in NH so take my word for it, he got crushed in the local media) and not attending the White House ceremony, so he tried to force the B’s into a trade but failed when management said they’d move forward anyway. Eventually I think B’s will be happy to move his cap hit (they’re right against the cap and I think his hit is $5 mill), and ‘Hawks seem like the most logical fit to me for a one year return to greatness for Tim.

    • dadawg77 - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Question is would Pres Obama home town treat Thomas nicely?

      • paledevil - Jul 26, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        We would take him… Chicago is about saying what you want… But at this point even if it means 8th even if it gets ugly… CC is the man. Yippe kai yay …. friends

    • tbbolts91 - Jul 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      I’d be upset too if the news was giving me grief about my political stance. I don’t know if I’d take the year off but I’d certainly like to discuss it. I agree that he’d fit well on the hawks but I don’t know if he’d be one to only take a 1 year deal

  3. tmoore4075 - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Same. Maybe Crawford has a better year so that would bring them up a little bit but they don’t have much in terms of role players. Will have the star power but you gotta get the rest. Bowman hasn’t proven to be able to do that yet.

  4. mclovinhockey - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Thomas hates Boston but if he wanted out he would have requested a trade.

    He just doesn’t want to play. He also stepped on the bruins logo after his last game so yeah he hates Boston, not sure why

    • tfaltin - Jul 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      He did waive his no trade clause after announcing he was taking the year off. Seems logical…

  5. comeonnowguys - Jul 26, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    They need Crawford to be slightly better than average, and a lot of out Brookbank and the bottom 4 defensemen.

    Keith can’t keep playing 25 or so minutes a game.

    Assuming that we’re not slipping back into Dead Puck officiating, if Crawford can get back to even his first year level of play and the down-bench D improves, they’ll go deep.

    That of course hinges on either Toews or Hossa returning to pre-concussion form. I’m not optimistic that both will.

  6. dadawg77 - Jul 26, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    One thing about staying pat, does it give the Hawks more flexibility when the CBA is settled? Who knows exactly where the cap will end up so not getting some of the big names this offseason might be a blessing in disguise.

  7. joeyg88 - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    if Corey Crawford slumps than they need to bring up carter Hutton from rockford. but if that doesn’t work I say pick up Thomas halfway through season when he’s ready to play again

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