Mediocrity Is Killing The Blackhawks Future


The Blackhawks are currently on a four-game winning streak and putting themselves in the worst possible scenario heading into the end of the season. Winning is always the goal but their mediocrity this season doesn’t bode well for the organization’s future. It will lead to disappointment in the near-term and long-term.

I’ve read the articles about how they’re only five points back of a playoff spot but what some writers fail to tell the fans is that the Blackhawks have played 1-3 more games than the six teams between them and that last spot. That is a lot of teams to leapfrog over considering their foes could amass as many as six points in those three games in hand.

A more telling story is how the team sits 14 out of 15 teams in the Western Conference and are tied for the 5th least amount of points in the entire NHL. Creeping, backdooring or limping your way into the playoffs is never something a team wants to do but that’s how the Blackhawks would make the playoffs.

The Blackhawks made the playoffs in 2016 and 2017 with statistically more balanced and overall better teams than this season but were subsequently eliminated both years. They didn’t make the playoffs in 2018 but the previous two seasons were no less disappointing than that. That leads them right back to the same situation they’re looking at right now.

If fans want to see the team just make the playoffs then the Blackhawks might as well start putting banners up for that. Because we’re just headed down that road year after year.

Mathematically it’s still possible but they’re also mathematically playing themselves out of a potential lottery pick. The chance to draft a player like Jack Hughes who has drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane or Kaapo Kakko who has been compared to Patrik Laine becomes less likely the more the Blackhawks win.

There is no guarantee that these players will live up to the hype but the Blackhawks do have a good track record of drafting number 1 overall. What they do not have is a solid track record of drafting and developing any other first round draft picks.

Kyle Beach, Dylan Olsen and Mark McNeill never made any impact with the Blackhawks. Kevin Hayes decided to head to free agency instead of signing with the organization while Philip Danault, Teuvo Teravainen, Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz were all traded for various reasons and are solidly contributing to their current teams.

Some would say that Stan Bowman and his regime are unfit for a complete rebuild but that’s a topic for another day. Be on the lookout for an article by our own John Jaeckel.

Currently the organization has three first rounders in Henri Jokiharju, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin who may develop into great defencemen but they are a few years off from really contributing. Jokiharju has already showed growing pains in his first NHL season and has been reassigned to Rockford.

Time is not on Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane’s side and players that can contribute immediately are in demand. This doesn’t mean that the organization should go out and blow all of their cap space on one player. It would be much more desirable to hit the lottery with Hughes or Kakko especially if they are as advertised. They could add depth to an extremely top-heavy scoring team and would also carry a relatively small cap hit leaving them with room to bolster their horrific team defense.

There have been some highs and more lows but either way they’re destined to disappoint long-term with the current team makeup. Kane, DeBrincat, Toews, Saad and Gustafsson have combined for 107 of the team’s 166 goals and the team is giving up an average of .50 more goals than they’re scoring per game.

The team has had bright spots and have gotten better under Coach Colliton but their mediocrity is leading them into no man’s land for now and into the future. The goal is to be consistently good but that hasn’t been the case this season so they might as well be consistently bad. If they continue along their current path they’ll be back in the same position for years to come.

Follow @Pappy_Hour on Twitter for more Blackhawks and general hockey musings.



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