It's Tough to Talk About the Blackhawks' Offseason (And Other Blackhawks Bullets)

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It’s Tough to Talk About the Blackhawks’ Offseason (And Other Blackhawks Bullets)

Chicago Blackhawks

Life has been up and down for the Chicago Blackhawks this offseason. The Ups (adding Seth Jones and Marc-André Fleury) have been awesome. But The Downs (the ongoing investigation into the organization regarding the allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich) have been below rock-bottom. Finding the balance between being a fan of the team and being critical of the shortcomings of the franchise is a hard line to toe. I get the sense we are all somewhat in the same boat regarding the team at this point in time.

•   I enjoyed talking live on Twitter yesterday afternoon with you Blackhawks fans and Bleacher Nation readers. We covered a ton of offseason topics and you can find the full stream from yesterday here…

•   A couple of things we covered included the additions of Seth Jones and Marc-André Fleury, among others, and where it puts the team next season. In what will be a very difficult Central Division, I can see a path for the Blackhawks to be Stanley Cup playoff contenders. There’s still a large amount of “IF” surrounding the team, but things look to be in a much better position than they were just a few weeks ago.

•   The future in net for the Blackhawks was also discussed. With Fleury committed to the 2021-22 season, the short-term plan in net for Chicago is clear. But the long-term plan is open to interpretation. I find it unlikely that Fleury is going to play in Chicago beyond this upcoming season, so it’s possible Kevin Lankinen will be kept around after the 2021-22 season for a few years to help set the table for Drew Commesso, who feels like the next in line to backstop the Blackhawks. Can you think of another goaltending prospect the Blackhawks have had since Corey Crawford that has shown as much promise and potential as Commesso?

•   Chicago will not have Duncan Keith, Nikita Zadorov, or Adam Boqvist back from last year’s defensive core. They added Seth and Caleb Jones, as well as Jake McCabe and they didn’t lose Calvin de Haan to the Seattle Expansion Draft. Keith wasn’t the same player he used to be, Zadorov was a defense-first/defense-only defender who hit a lot but also took a lot of penalties, and Boqvist was a promising young defenseman who could still become a legit top-pairing defenseman in the NHL. The additions by Chicago should still be a net-positive for the defensive group, though.

•   McCabe plays a more effective game in the same style of Zadorov, Seth Jones IS a legit top-pairing, No. 1 defenseman in the NHL, and Caleb Jones can contribute in a third-pair defensive role. With de Haan, Conor Murphy, Riley Stillman, and Wyatt Kalynuk returning, the hope is that the Blackhawks will be better defensively in front of an improved group of goaltenders next season after finishing tied for the most shots-against per game (33.7) in the NHL last season with the Buffalo Sabres.

•   Speaking of losing Adam Boqvist, he shared a sad goodbye to Alex DeBrincat’s dogs, Ralph and Burt, yesterday following being in Chicago for DeBrincat’s wedding.

•   I’m not crying, you are.

•   The Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs have made a new hire, adding Ryan Snider to the front office.

•   It will be interesting to see how the Blackhawks and IceHogs operate since Chicago purchased their AHL club. We’ve already seen the renovations start at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, so we’ll see what happens next after the hiring of Snider.

•   Speaking of new hires, ESPN has added a new studio analyst for their NHL coverage, former NHL head coach John Tortorella.

•   I’m sure this will go well.

•   Tortorella has never been one to hold his tongue, as you can see below.

•   While his views on the game are starting to become a bit outdated, and were part of his exit from the Columbus Blue Jackets, his insight will be something that will bring eyes to ESPN’s coverage.

•   Last night, this excerpt from an interview with former Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov on his former teammate Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado made the rounds…

•   Listen, there is 100% a price to pay as an elite athlete to be an elite athlete. As is mentioned, somewhat, in the excerpt, Michael Jordan had a way of being a competitor that didn’t always rub people the right way. As evidenced in “The Last Dance” Jordan was basically a dick to his teammates to make them better to play with on his level. It appears MacKinnon takes that same approach.

•   But there’s a difference between MacKinnon and Jordan acting like this as a teammate and as a team leader. Jordan was actually winning championships. As MacKinnon has admitted, he hasn’t won s**t in his career. The Avalanche are a deeply talented team, and will likely win the Central Division this year behind MacKinnon’s efforts.

•   All I can say is that I am glad I live the life I live, carbs and all.

•   Finally in NWHL news, the league has formally announced Ty Tumminia as the new Commissioner of the League.

•   That will do it for today. Enjoy your Wednesday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.