With 109 points in 2016-17, the Chicago Blackhawks finished 1st in the Western conference. But, the eighth seed Nashville Predators upset the Blackhawks, sweeping them in the first round. Like most offseasons in the Windy City, big changes occurred. Let\’s look at what GM Stan Bowman did.
Notable additions: LW Brandon Saad, RW Patrick Sharp, D Connor Murphy, F Lance Bouma, F Tommy Wingels, G Anton Forsberg, D Jan Rutta, D Jordan Oesterle.
Notable subtractions: LW Artemi Panarin, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, G Scott Darling, C Marcus Kruger, F Tyler Motte, D Trevor van Riemsdyk, D Johnny Oduya, D Brian Campbell.
Here are my projected forward lines.
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Richard Panik
Patrick Sharp – Artem Anisimov – Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman – Nick Schmaltz – Vinnie Hinostroza
Lance Bouma – Tommy Wingels – John Hayden
Since being acquired by the Blackhawks, Panik has been great with Toews. Saad started his career in Chicago, and was also great with \”Captain Serious\”. Sharp and Kane are reunited, and Anisimov has been Kane\’s center for a couple years now. The kid line is solid. Bouma and Wingels are two veteran additions that will pay off. Tomas Jurco, Jordin Tootoo and Tanner Kero are the extra forwards.
Here are my projected defensive pairs.
Duncan Keith – Connor Murphy
Michal Kempny – Brent Seabrook
Gustav Forsling – Michal Rozsival
Murphy is a nice addition, and can play well with a top defender like Keith. Seabrook and Kempny are two good top-4 defensemen. Forsling and Rozsival are a young guy, Forsling, and a vet, Rozsvial, which is normally a good thing. Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle are the extra defensemen.
Crawford is a really good goalie. Forsberg never got a chance to be a backup in Columbus, but can be that in Chicago. It\’s a solid tandem.
Once again, the Blackhawks have a good team. even though the loss of Artemi Panarin hurts, I think the Blackhawks will once again make the playoffs.