Stanley Cup Champions in 2010, 2013 and 2015, it seems as if the dynasty has finally had the final nail put in its coffin. The Chicago Blackhawks missed the 2018 playoffs by a wide margin and the year before they were swept by the eventual Western Conference Champion Nashville Predators. 0 playoff wins since 2016, is it time for this team to hit the self destruct button and start over or is there still some hope if the right moves are made? If there was any hope, following this offseason it is certainly gone now.
Missing the playoffs aside, the regular season was a disaster at moments for the 'Hawks. Crawford out for most of the season with an injury and Scott Darling in Carolina, there certainly wasn't anything special in the crease (except for Scott Foster of course) which made scoring enough goals to win difficult. When goaltending isn't your strong suit, goal scoring has to be. A mediocre year from their captain Jonathan Toews saw Patrick Kane carrying the load. Scoring 76 points in a full 82 games, Kane showed he can score even without a Stanley Cup winning roster to help him out. What more would you expect from an all-star sniper with three Stanley Cup rings?
In addition, complimenting Kane were two gems in Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz. Scoring 28 and 21 goals respectively, they both tallied 52 points along side Toews. This four in Toews, Kane, DeBrincat and Schamltz could be the keys to a successful future of the Blackhawks.
Just imagine if the Blackhawks had a player like Artemi Panarin to go along with these high flying rookies instead of a player like Brandon Saad...
In terms of the offseason, nothing has been done to push the Blackhawks into some kind of relevancy in the Central division. The only notable pick up has been Chris Kunitz but he certainly isn't a game changer (Cue memory of Kunitz's goal in double overtime of game seven of the 2017 Eastern Conference Final). The Central division is going to be a tough one considering the teams to compete with are the Predators, Jets, Blues and Wild.
I don't see the Blackhawks making the playoffs next season because I don't see the depth, or lack there of, making any kind of a secondary push into a playoff spot. There is nothing fast on defense which in the small game makes getting out of your own zone difficult. The only way I could see the Blackhawks pushing into the playoffs is if the Pacific division bombs, the Wild and or Blues tank and more players than just Toews, Kane, DeBrincat and Schmaltz contribute in a big way on a regular basis.
Here is Chicago's infographic for the 2017-18 season.