After barely squeezing into the the playoffs a year after hoisting the cup over their heads, the Blackhawks found themselves reworking their roster for the second year in a row in hopes of finding another winning combination. Coach Quennville will be plugging and chugging different faces into and out of the roster slots to create a cohesive team that will hopefully show more gusto this time around.
- The Golden Boys- Although there will be a number of new faces in the locker room this fall, the Hawks’ top goal scorers (Toews, Kane, Sharpe, Hossa) remain in the black and red. The four of them combined for 277 points in the 2010-2011 season.
- Defensive Dominance – Although pieces of the roster have been shifted in the offseason, the powerhouse duo of Duncs and Seabs (Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook) remain the go-to men on the blue line. Besides Stnaley Cup winning experience, the defense welcomes veteran players in Sean O’Donell and Steve Montador. The young up-and-comers will have plenty of positive models and reinforcement on and off the ice with this group.
- Hunger- After winning the Cup a mere 15 months ago, the Blackhawks seem content in their spot on the leaderboard. Although Toews is one of the hardest working men in hockey and a strong leader to his team, his sense of urgency to be the best did not translated well to his teammates. The potential of this team is wasted on those with the rings.
- What PK?- For a team with a fabulous power play, the magic is lost when the Hawks are shorthanded. At home the Hawks were 25th in their penalty killing abilities and 29th in their road whites. By adding players like Sean O’Donnell, Jamal Mayers, and Steve Montador, the Blackhawks hope to improve their penalty killing.
- Step Up Stars- Players like Bryan Bickell, Ben Smith, and Nick Leddy all rose to the occasion during the post-season. Bickell played well most of the season, Leddy was less than stellar, and Smith played solely in the playoffs. In addition, Viktor Stalberg has the ability to be a go to guy in the near future as long as he has the drive to do so. If he is paired with Bolland and Frolik, two players who posted impressive stats this past season, Stalberg may be able to capitalize on the opportunity.
- Corey Crawford- In the Stanley Cup season, he was not trusted enough for the backup goalie position but was launched to starting goalie in the 10-11 season and he delivered. 2.3 GAA, .917 save percentage in 57 regular season games. The question is, which Corey will show up to training camp? Alex Salak stands to make a mark on this team if Crawford enters a sophmore slump.