By Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)
Its been a season of epic flows with neck-snapping twists and turns for the Chicago Blackhawks. And like with any ride of that kind, the Men In Red are left near its end feeling uneasy and ready to unload something bad within themselves.
Currently eight points out of the last Wild Card spot in the Western Conference (26-25-8), the Hawks have been struck and staggered by inconsistency and that unwanted quality made an appearance once again during their five-game road trip through Canada, which saw the Hawks drop four of five games largely because of inconsistent scoring, struggling penalty kill and a no-show from the power play.
The numbers reflect the performance of a team while revealing a painful truth: the Hawks are no different today than they were at the beginning of the season and they are in no position to compete for a playoff spot.
Playoff spots don’t go to teams that have missed out on scoring in their last 14 power play opportunities while giving up five goals in that span. Playoff spots don’t go to teams who are out-scored by five goals (scored: 15; allowed: 20) over a key road stretch.
Among the key Hawks there was a clear delineation among players who stepped up during the recent road swing and players who basically disappeared.
Who Was Hot
- Jonathan Toews: 2 goals, 4 assists
- Patrick Kane: 2G, 6A
- Dominik Kubalik: 2G, 2A
- Brandon Saad: 3G, A
- Adam Boqvist: 2G
Not So Hot
- Alex DeBrincat: 1G
- Dylan Strome: 1A (One game as a healthy scratch)
- Duncan Keith: No points
- Kirby Dach: 1G, 1A
Possible Trade Candidates
The Hawks are at a crossroads with only a blazing finish to the season likely to extend this season.
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman’s job is possibly on the line. Now would be an ideal time for him to make smart moves be they for Chicago’s short term or long-term outlook. With the NHL trade deadline five days away it’ll be most important to see what realization the Hawks’ front office comes to: are they looking to be championship contenders soon or will they cruise under the radar behind a youth movement?
Whatever happens on Monday, there may be possible pieces that can help with the process whether they continue to retool or look to make one last grasp at this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- Brandon Saad: 18G, 10A
- Olli Maatta: 4G, 12A
- Erik Gustafsson: 6G, 20A
- Corey Crawford: 10-16-3 record, 2.89 Goals Against, .912 Save Percent
Could the Chicago Blackhawks do the unthinkable with their cap space? (Blackhawk Up)
Assuming that Chicago takes care of business the next two games before Monday’s trade deadline, consider these records and decide if this is a team that should try to measure itself up against the best in the Western Conference.
- 3-5-2 in last 10 games
- 14-13-4 road record
- 12-12-4 home record
- 6-9-3 vs. Central division
- 15-17-6 vs. Western Conference
This next week will do a lot to determine the direction of the franchise for this season and beyond.
Points: Patrick Kane (74)
Goals: Patrick Kane (27)
Assists: Patrick Kane (47)
Penalty Minutes: Jonathan Toews (46)
Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (2.89)
Sidney Brown covers the Chicago Blackhawks for WARR