Time to grade the Hawks from January 2013 - December 2013.
2012-13 season was really a 2013 season only because of the lockout. That season was an amazing season.
Regular Season: 36 - 7 - 5 (77 pts).
Post Season: 16 -7 (Stanley Cup Champions; 5th Cup in Chicago's history)
2013-14 Season: 28 - 7 -7 (Tied for the most points. 3rd best winning % ; St.Louis, Ana)
Patrick Kane: He is having a career year and is 2nd in the league in points for the 2013-14 season. He finished up last season winning the Conn Smythe: Has already had a 12 game and a 14 game point streak this season. A+
Jonathon Toews: How impressive Kane was, so was Toews. He finished last season with 48 points marking his first season with a point per game. He won the Selke award as the best Defensive Forward in the league and is on pace to be nominated again this season. He is slightly under a point a game this season with 40pts /42games and is night in and night out showing why he is one of the most valued players in the league. A+
Patrick Sharp: Had an injury plagued season last season, but has come on like storm busters with 41 points in 42 games and 22 goals in attempts to not only lead the Hawks but to make Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics. IN the last 11 games he has 11 goals and 6 assists. Was last weeks player of the week. A
Marian Hossa: He is just shy of a point a game pace this year with 34 points in 37 games. (14G/ 20A) Is second in the league in takeaways (1st Datsyuk). Last year he was consistent again and his two way play and mere presence on the team opened up space for his other goal scorers. A-
Brandon Saad: Aren't players supposed to have a sophomore jinx or a sophomore slump? NOT this guy. Brandon Saad is able to play on any line, and has shown production. He has 14 G 16 A and is on the pace for just under 60 points. I think Saader will pick it up and end up around 65-69 points this season. He is playing so well, the USA team is having difficulty not considering him for a roster spot. He shows he can play with Toews and has starred with Bickell and Shaw. A-
Kris Versteeg: Welcome back Steeger. For some it was quite difficult to give up on prospects Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen. I didn't foresee Olsen in the Hawks lineup anytime soon. Too many prospects ahead of him that are producing quite well. Hayes, although a big body, wasn't putting forth the 3rd or 4th line energy that Q required night in and night out. So, to welcome back a person like Kris Versteeg that can play Center or Wing on the 2nd or 3rd line was ALL upside. He has started to produce and produce effectively. He has 15 points in 23 games with the Hawks this season,…and YES, I do believe he will hit 22-25 goals this season. He was 4.3% shot accuracy with Florida. He's an amazing 15.4% with the Hawks. Why? He's not the main focus here in Chicago. He didn't want to be in that losing environment and it showed in his game and his attitude with Florida. This season in Florida he played 18games 2G/5A with a +/- MINUS 9…In Chicago he's a +7. Steeger will get his 50 points this season on this high scoring team. B+
Andrew Shaw: Coach Q calls Andrew Shaw 'one of the most underrated players on the team'… He produces points, he sets up, he will dish out hits, drop the gloves, and fight for every inch of ice…even though he's the smallest guy on the team. SOMETIMES, his aggressiveness turns into stupid penalties, but the team is able to coral his emotions and he continues to produce. Remember,…he's still a very young guy, (But there are times you want to choke him for his stupid penalties). B+
Marcus Kruger: There is an argument that without Michael Frolik that 1-2 penalty killing punch is gone. IS it possible that Kruger is the week link? The Hawks are 28th in the P.K. and as the Hawks are starting to find improvement in their P.K.,…it's NOWHERE where it was last year and that is Marcus' primary special teams job. On the other hand, he has spent hours after practice learning the art of the "face-off" and he's gone from bloody awful to nearly 50%. He is now 2nd to Jonathan Toews with face-off percentage wins. B
Bryan Bickell: Two words: Playoff hero. Watch the movie 17 seconds and you'll see Duncan Keith amazed at Bickell's accomplishments. NOT just the team, but everybody was amazed. Outcome? 1 nice 4 year contract worth $4m per. This year has started off slow because of his early season injury. He missed 14 games due to the injury. So with 28 games played he's got 6G 2A with a +/- Minus 1. Shot percentage has gone up to 14.3%, but now that he is back with a powerhouse (and perhaps the best) 3rd line in hockey…Bickell, Shaw and Saad. I like to call them the "lunch pale line". Gritty, will do the dirty work and will light you up…expect ALL 3 guys to be above 17 goals. What? Unheard of from a 3rd line. In fact, expect 60+ goals from that line. (Saad and Shaw have a good lead on Bickell).
Bickell will be most productive in the playoffs. That when the Hawks use him the most. B+
Michael Handzus: Michael was a big surprise coming from San Jose. He was a healthy scratch over there, and became a useful 2nd line centerman with the Hawks. Michael has only played 25 games this year, coming off of surgery he had after the playoffs were finished. He isn't going to give you 70 games anymore, but he is useful and the Hawks like having him. Don't get me wrong, they've tried to replace him with Pirri and Nordstrom and Versteeg, and will try to do so at the end of the year if he isn't productive. But, for the $1m cost they got him for, he's more than productive. He has decreased in speed and I've noticed this year his face-off percentage has dropped off. Overall, a nice role player. C
Brandon Bollig: He was on my list of players last year that I couldn't wait to see if they would get rid of him. Not this year. This year, he's felt comfortable and in fact, that fourth line of Bollig, Smith and Kruger has formed a nice little chemistry. Not only did Brandon Bollig get his first point of his career,…he's gotten more than that. 3G/ 5A in ALL 42 games the Hawks have played. NO MORE healthy scratching' for big Bollig!. He's looking to be much more productive and only mixes it up when he feels the need to protect a teammate. Other than that, he stays away from that stuff. Last year I'd have given him a D-. This year I'll give him a B-…..Overall,…. C-
Morin, Pirri, Mills, Nordstrom: INCOMPLETE. (disappointed that the Hawks sent back Morin and Pirri, however, the cap is a real thing and as long as they are maxed out,…they are only going to come up when someone gets injured.
Duncan Keith: The man is on a rip roaring pace this year. He has 3G and 36 A, just shy of a point per game. He actually looks better this year than he did when he won the Norris trophy award in 2010. He will be playing in the Olympics and he and Ottawa's Erik Karlsson are separating themselves from the rest of the defensemen on who will win the award this year. Besides points, his puck decisions have been nothing short of brilliance. When he isn't with the puck, his ability to chase down players and take pucks away has also been amazing. Last season, he had another fine year, but this year he has stepped it up and right over the top. A (B+ for last season, A+ for this season).
Niklas Hjlamarsson: I liked riding Hammer and his indecisions he made last year. This year he is playing much better. Still needs to stop coughing up the puck. But, his general decision making and propensity to shoot more has been obvious. Liking his game much more this season. B+
Brent Seabrook: The quiet star on the team. He is 7th in the league among defensemen in points. He has the ability to reach 50 points this season. Seeing Seeb's charge on in the offensive zone is actually quite fun to see. However, he will always be known as a blue-line stuffer. B+
Johnny Oduya: I'm going to ride Oduya's case this year. He is the least productive and least noticeable Hawk this year. This isn't a way to keep your spot on a team that has so much talent waiting to take his place. (i.e. Adam Clendening) There are times when Johnny shows that aggressiveness and skill with the puck, but his blind passes to neutral zone turnovers and improper defensive set ups are off-putting to say the least. If someone gets traded at the end of the year, don't be surprised if Oduya's name is on that list….in fact, I predict that Stan Bowman is looking at that option. (You heard it hear first). C-
Sheldon Brookbank: Another person I wanted the Hawks to get rid of. Again, this year he has been much more productive. Sheldon only appeared in 26 games all of last year in 48 tilts. No play offs for him. This year, he has 3 points 1G 2A, +/- +3, and he's already appeared in 41 games. He is splitting time with Rozy and Thor. (Rozsival and Kostka), but when he's out there, he also has been productive. When the Hawks tried this a few years ago,(getting older experienced D-men) ….it SO didn't work. (i.e.O'Donnell, Montador). So, we are glad that Brookbank is finally working out. D+
Michal Rozsival: Rozy isn't playing all the time. Again, as I stated earlier, he's in a platooning situation with Kostka and Brooksy. He is doing well and I often wish he would replace Oduya for I think he's a better defenseman than Johnny Oduya. B-.
Michael Kostka: First year with the Hawks and he better be a good one. He was the reason why the Hawks lost long time prospect Ryan Stanton. He has only played in 5 games and has been a healthy scratch half of the season. The other half of the season he was on LTIR due to a freak injury during warm ups on the Florida trip. C
Corey Crawford: Easy to score on the glove side. Easy to score on the stick side. Blah, blah, blah. All of those guys can look at Corey Crawford's BIG ASS ROCK!!!! 5th winning goaltender in Blackhawks history. This year he was off to a repetitive and long start due to the fact that Khabibulin has been a complete mess. He was not able to get any time off. Then 3 weeks ago, he pulled a groin muscle. But, let's look at his record. 17-6-3. 2.47GAA and a .907 Sv%. He'll be better than that once he comes back this week. NOW that he has a real goaltender backing him up. A+
Nikolai Khabibulin: Many of us were scared when Stan Bowman signed on Nick. 40 years old and hasn't been much of a goalie after leaving the Hawks. Guess what? He's been a complete train wreck in 4 appearances with the Hawks. 1-0-1 (Thank goodness we don't only look at record)…. with a disturbingly high .500 GAA and a despicable .811 Sv%. He "mysteriously" went down with an injury, a groin injury,(but he JUST had surgery on the rotator Rotator Cuff…He went under the knife this week), and has been a LTIR ever since.
***Side note: 08/Jan/2014 confusing to all Blackhawks fans for after the game we were told that Khabi had a lower body injury…undisclosed and Stan Bowman confirmed in today's interview that it was the groin. HOWEVER, Khabi just had surgery today on the shoulder. Recovery time is 4-5 months. The question was asked if he could come back at the end of the season. He said it is possible. Well, let's be realists here. The Hawks will SEE TO IT that it lasts 5 months if Raanta plays like he's been playing. Thereby, Khabibulin not being available to back up Corey in the playoffs. They would be silly not to.
(I will update my Khabibulin post with more talk on this matter,…but in the meantime let's end this).
Thank God for small LTIR miracles. F
Antti Raanta: Was called up from the AHL (Rockford Icehogs) and has been stellar. He's got a splendid 10-1-3 record in 15 appearances/ 13 Game Starts and has a GAA of 2.21 and a .913 Sv%.
He has been delightful with his spirited personality (unlike most goaltenders). When he has had a rough game, the next game out he's kicked butt. A
Kent Simpson: INCOMPLETE: (he may be worse than Khabibulin…thank goodness they brought in Jason LaBarbera…no grade for LaBarbera for he hasn't played a game yet.)
REAL TIME STATS:
HITS: Andrew Shaw ranks 24th (107), Brent Seabrook ranks 25th (104).
BLOCKS: Niklas Hjalmarsson ranks 17th (79), Brent Seabrook ranks 33rd (71), Johnny Oduya ranks 40th (68).
GIVEAWAYS: (The stat no one wants to be part of). Niklas Hjalmarsson 3rd (48)
TAKEAWAYS: Marian Hossa 2nd (48), Brandon Saad 10th (37), Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews tied for 18th (32)
FOW: Jonathan Toews 4th (481), Marcus Kruger 59th ( 254).
FACE-OFF %: Marcus Kruger (minimum of 200 F.O.) 12th (58.2%)wow!!! ,
Jonathan Toews 14th (57.0%)
POINTS: P.Kane 2nd (53), P.Sharp 10th (41), J. Toews 12th (40), D.Keith 15th ( 39),
M.Hossa 30th (34). Impressive to have 5 guys in the top 30.
GOALIE WINS: Corey Crawford 10th (17-6-3), Antti Raanta 23rd (10-1-3). Two goalies top 25.
TOTAL; W-L-T RECORD FOR CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS FOR THE 2013 YEAR.
2013 SEASON: 36 -7 -5
2013 PLAYOFFS: 22 -7
2013-14 SEASON: 28 -7 -7
GRAND TOTAL: 86 -21-12 (includes Stanley Cup 2013)