Tick, tock, tick, tock goes the clock as the Chicago Blackhawks continue to let the time pass before announcing their training camp dates and rosters. I’m getting peeved it’s taking this long. Of course, the team is still considerably preoccupied with off-ice issues. So maybe that’s not much of a surprise. In any case, as we all await the hockey-related news, let’s jump into today’s Monday Mailbag, all questions this week coming via email!
Remember, you can send in questions on Twitter using the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag or email them to us at Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com. Send them anytime about the Blackhawks, IceHogs, and everything in-between this offseason.
Question 1: Which Blackhawk that we lost in the last year will we miss the most? – John K. (via Email)
The first name that comes to mind from this question is Adam Boqvist. He was starting to come into his own last season and was beginning to look like the kind of defenseman that could be put into a top-four or top-pairing role in Chicago and not have to be the one that needed to be protected in a defensive pairing. At 21-years-old, he looked ready to be the future No.1 defenseman in Chicago. Then he was traded in the deal that landed Seth Jones. I think Boqvist will turn into a solid top-four defenseman in his NHL career, but the impact of his loss will hopefully be dull for the Blackhawks if Seth Jones is going to be an effective No. 1 defenseman moving forward in Chicago.
Among the rest of the names lost over the last calendar year for Chicago, I think the retirement of Andrew Shaw will also cast a shadow on the Blackhawks. Shaw had the ability to play multiple roles across the lineup and was a great player in the locker room coming back to the Blackhawks. His loss in the lineup was and will continue to be curbed by the development of a player like Brandon Hagel, who can do a lot of what Shaw did on the ice and continues to become maybe even more skilled of a scorer than Shaw was.
Question 2: I think it is safe to assume (Patrick) Kane will lead the team in scoring this year, so who do you think will be second on the team in points? Who will lead in goals? Unless the same answer is Kane too. – Sean L. (via Email)
Don’t be so certain that Kane will lead the Blackhawks again. He was playing at a career-best pace last season before the apparently season-long injury he was dealing with caught up to him. He led the team in points but the gap between him and second-place got very narrow as Alex DeBrincat’s second-half of the season helped keep Chicago in the playoff chase.
I would not be surprised to see Kane and DeBrincat in the top two spots again this season, but there may be a chance they are flip-flopped. DeBrincat had a bounce-back season last year and was making a case to be the team’s MVP for keeping the postseason hopes alive. He finished last year scoring at a 50-goal pace for an 82-game season and I think being around that pace is what we can expect from the former second-round pick. I think he’ll lead the team in goals again this season, too.
For fun, let me also predict that Kirby Dach will finish third on the team in points, Kane will finish second in goals, and Dominik Kubalík will finish third in goal-scoring.
That’ll do it for this edition of the Monday Mailbag! We’ll be doing this all offseason and maybe even into the regular season as we get closer to the start of the 2021-22 year. Be sure to send in questions on Twitter using #BNHawksMailbag or emailing them to Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com.