The Chicago Blackhawks will be looking for others to step up to replace the scoring of Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, and Johnny Oduya. They combined for 53 of the 229 goals scored in the regular season (23%) and 20 of the 67 goals scored in the playoffs (30%). They may lose even more contributors from last year if Bryan Bickell and/or Kris Versteeg are moved. They both had 14 goals a piece in the regular season. Their stories are yet to be told since the Blackhawks are currently, roughly $350K over the salary cap. This while Marcus Kruger, 7 goals, and also a very good penalty killer, waits to sign a long-term deal with the club.
So who will make up the scoring gap lost by these players? The additions of Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, and Trevor Daley are the leading candidates. Let's speculate, shall we?
Anisimov, is set to be the 2nd line center for the Hawks for the next 5 years thanks to an extension after being part of the trade for Brandon Saad. Playing on a line with Patrick Kane, one would think he would have the potential for 45 points (12G 33A) if healthy. Dano, who in his rookie year last year with Columbus, had 21 points in 35 games (8G 13A). The future is bright for this 20 year old who could possibly put up 40 points (14G 26A) based on what line he is placed on. Daley, who is an offensive-minded defenseman, should carry his weight for the amount of scoring that Oduya did last year (2G 8A, 10 points). Daley had career numbers last year in Dallas with 38 points (16G 22A). He may not reach those numbers next year adjusting to the defensive-minded game of Coach Quenneville, but he should easily surpass Oduya-type numbers with 32 points (10G 22A).
There is the potential of the young Russian star, Artem Panarin, to break into the Opening Night roster along with fellow KHL linemate, Viktor Tikhonov, and young Swedish Defenseman, Erik Gustaffson. Panarin, a star in the KHL last year had 62 points (26G and 36A) for St. Petersburg SKA. He could play wing on any of the first 3 lines and make an impact. Tikhonov, who was a teammate with Panarin in St. Petersburg SKA, could give some support on possibly the 3rd line if given the opprtunity. Gustaffson, may or may not make the NHL squad although he is the closest to do so out of camp. His contribution would be similar to Johnny Oduya.
Based on these projections, as good or bad as they may be, these newcomers, minus the potential stars, would make up 36 of the 53 goals that were lost. If Patrick Kane can stay healthy and stay on his 1+ point per game pace, he should be able to contribute at least another 1/2 dozen goals. Teuvo Teravainen could have a breakout year next year. Based on his play in the playoffs this year, his poise and skill could see him easily netting a dozen goals or more.
As scary as it was to lose stars such as Saad, Sharp, Richards, Vermette, and Oduya, the Blackhawks brought back players to fill the void. They will be relying and youth and skill to produce. What they lack is experience, which players like Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, and Seabrook could help with.
Speculation is part of the fun till the games begin, so far now, let's get excited for what is in store for this upcoming year for our Blackhawks. Who do you think will contribute this year and how much?
LET'S GO HAWKS!!!
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