As the regular season begins in just a couple of weeks, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to improve on their early exit last season. The team kicks off training camp at Johnny’s Icehouse in Chicago on September 23. Over the next few weeks, Blackhawk Up will give projections for the stats of each player heading into the season, based off the trend of past three seasons, career averages, and potential line-mate projections.
Is Hossa Ready To Ride Into The NHL Sunset?
Look, 2015-16 was a bad year for Marian Hossa. Outside of missing time for various injuries, Hossa’s skill set was going down rapidly and everyone noticed.
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Now, there is no denying that Hossa is going to end up in the Hall of Fame some day, but he is no longer the strong-bodied, two-way offensive threat on the right-wing that he used to be. Hossa still plays strong on the puck, but his past injuries have caused Blackhawks fans to worry about his longevity over an 82-game schedule. Playing the way Hossa plays takes a toll on the body, not that he is laying hits left and right, but his physical positioning and jockeying for puck possession on a regular basis takes a lot out of a player nightly. He still can be a defensive asset at the forward position, but Hossa’s scoring touch and his legs are on the decline.
The old adage is that when a player begins to age, especially one who has made a career of being a consistent goal-scorer, the first thing to go are the hands. Goal production decreases, and then the puck distribution ability starts to become irregular.
A quick look at Hossa’s number over the past couple of years and one can see the goal production has gone down every year since 2013. In the strike-shortened season, Hossa was on pace for 34 goals. Then in 2013-14, he tallied 30 goals. The 2014-15 season netted 22 goals for Hossa and then 13 goals last season. Telling numbers for how age is starting to catch up with the Slovakian winger.
So with the production declining, what can Hossa do for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016-17? It will be his 19th season in the NHL and Hossa will start the year on the wing of Captain Jonathan Toews. But the big question is will he stay there? Can the Blackhawks trust him to give top-line minutes and produce top-line numbers?
Hossa will have a better 2016-17 for Chicago, if he can stay relatively healthy. Already at the World Cup of Hockey, Hossa has been sidelined with a minor-injury but isn’t considered serious. So already, there is concern for the 82-game NHL season. If he can play in or close to 70 games for the Blackhawks, Hossa can reach this projection.
Writer Prediction: Under
The line that Hossa plays the most on will be one of, if not, the biggest factor to his production. If Hossa is paired with Toews all season, he can be a 40 point scorer in the NHL, even at his age. But the possibility of being placed in a third-line role gives the idea that his responsibilities will change and his scoring will be focused on less. Therefore, Marian Hossa’s 2016-17 production projection is 39 points.