As the season has crossed the 20-game mark, many of the Chicago Blackhawks have established a solid game while others have begun to digress
In what has been a great start to the season for the Chicago Blackhawks as a team, certain players have stood out more than others. As the ‘Hawks continue to strive toward reaching their ninth straight playoff appearance, we are seeing players step up when needed and also observing perennial veterans continue to show that style of play that earned three Stanley Cups in six years.
However, where there are standout players, there are those falling short. Let’s take a look at few skaters who have been special and a few not so special in this week’s Chicago Blackhawks’ “Who’s Hot and Who’s Not.”
The reigning MVP Patrick Kane has seemingly picked up right where he left off last season.
Kaner leads the Chicago Blackhawks in points with 23 (8 goals, 15 assists) and continues to contribute to his team with nearly a point per game. With two goals and three assists during the final Circus Trip, the Blackhawks winger is looking to carry his team towards another successful season and a long playoff run as well.
Since Desi’s return from the IR list, the 30-year-old winger has been downright invisible. He may just need more time to get back to form, but so far Desjardins has been given the start in seven games and has yet to score a single point.
Although Desi isn’t a huge point producer, the experience he brings to the PK unit and joining in on rushes has just simply not been there.
He was even a healthy scratch Tuesday at home against Florida. Minus the five shots on goal by Desjardins against Winnipeg, this has been a rough start.
As we observed Hartman during his time in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, it became very clear the ‘Hawks had a physical grinder who was not afraid to take it to opponents and drop the gloves. Well, the physicality is still there, but what changed? Discipline.
In my mind, Hartman has been the standout by far of the young guys. He’s avoiding bad penalties with only 2 penalty minutes all season, along with five goals and an assist. His game-tying goal in Vancouver during the ‘Hawks’ big comeback was definitely special!
I know this is the obvious choice here, but this has really been pitiful, guys. We all know Tootoo was brought to Chicago for depth. Not to be a significant role player, but to bring experience and his tenacious attitude.
In 19 games played, Tootoo has failed to manage a single point. On top of that, in his past three games Tootoo has played just barely over 5 minutes per game. I don’t see him earning anymore minutes anytime soon.
I feel as though we can go on and on about Crow and his stellar beginning to the season. In a previous post, I wrote about how Crawford hasn’t been given the credit he deserves, and honestly the same can still be said. Crow has kept the Chicago Blackhawks in countless games with huge stops that we Blackhawks fans have grown so used to.
Crawford boasts a .928 save percentage, allowing 2.23 goals per game in his 11 wins. Although he’s not leading in any one goaltending category, Crawford has been so solid and came up huge when the ‘Hawks have needed just that.
Panarin on Crawford: "If it weren’t for him, the last couple game would turn out differently. That’s for sure. We’re lucky to have him."
The Chicago Blackhawks’ team faceoff win percentage on the year is at 48.1, ranking them 28th overall in the NHL. With Jonathan Toews battling the injury bug, fellow Blackhawks centers have failed to step up in his absence.
Perhaps the worst outing in the faceoff circle came in Anaheim during the Circus Trip, where the ‘Hawks lost 49-18 at the dot. It can’t get much worse than that, I’d say!
Artem Anisimov has assumed the role of the top-line center since Toews’ injury and has failed to come close to the captain when in the faceoff circle. Arty has never been strong at the dot, but it’s worth noting that his 42.78 faceoff win percentage has him on pace for career-low numbers in faceoff wins.