4 Takeaways From The Blackhawks’ Now Complete, Ugly Preseason

There wasn’t a way to watch the Blackhawks play in St. Louis on Saturday, which is totally okay because they got whooped 6-0. They allowed three goals in the first and second period and the game was effectively over before the third period began.

The loss drops the Blackhawks to 1-5-0 in preseason. The Blackhawks were out-scored 20-2 in their five losses. Now they get to come home for a nice Saturday night and Sunday at home before jumping on a plane to Denver on Monday to start the 2022-23 regular season after they raise a banner on Wednesday.

So what do can we take away from the Blackhawks during this preseason? I’ll try to sum it up as best I can without needing more than one cocktail.

  • The goaltending wasn’t good at all, but…
  • … it wasn’t the Blackhawks’ biggest problem. If you missed it a couple paragraphs ago, I’ll say it again here: the Blackhawks were outscored 20-2 in their five losses. That’s atrocious. Four goals against per game isn’t good, but two goals in five games is… insert poop emoji.

    Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock both had a save percentage of 85 in the preseason. That’s brutal. But when you look at where the goals came from in Saturday afternoon’s finale, you start to understand why it’s been a battle for these two guys.

    Now, I will throw out the obligatory caveat that the Blackhawks haven’t had Connor Murphy or Jake McCabe, two top-four defensemen, for the preseason. And Caleb Jones has been injured. And, now, Riley Stillman is gone. So they’ve relied on a lot of young defenseman, some of whom — Kevin Korchinski, Ethan Del Mastro, Jakub Galvas — aren’t in Chicago any more.

    When Alec Regula, Isaak Phillips and Jack Johnson lead your defensemen in 5-on-5 ice time in a six-game stretch, you’re asking for ugly results. Regula and Phillips are going to be nice contributors this season and into the future, but they’ve been relied upon far too heavily thus far. And that’s what’s going to happen when a front office and coaching staff are legitimately conducting a thorough evaluation process. Let’s see how the ice time is distributed and who’s healthy when the puck drops in the first 4-5 games of the regular season.

  • Subtraction by subtraction
  • Yeah, the saying is “addition by subtraction,” and that might be the case at times. General manager Kyle Davidson added Sam Lafferty via trade last year and brough tin two players — Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk — and two draft picks in the Brandon Hagel trade. And he just added Jason Dickinson (and a draft pick) in the Stillman trade on Friday night. Those four figure to be bottom-six contributors this season (Raddysh might slide into the top-six because, you know, there’s nobody else).

    But the more likely reality is that the Blackhawks are going to move guys out to add future assets and replace them with either prospects from within or other modest players like the three we mentioned above.

    The addition the Blackhawks are looking to make right now is in the culture of the club and the draft pieces they have in the future. So, in the immediate, it will feel like subtraction by subtraction.

  • The kids are alright
  • We knew coming into the summer that the Blackhawks had more depth on the blue line than the organization did up front, but the additions of Korchinski and Filip Roos (via free agency), the maturation of other prospects like those we mentioned earlier and Wyatt Kaiser should give you some confidence that the Blackhawks have a strong group coming on the back end.

    We’ve already mentioned a bunch of young players who got some run in the preseason and impressed. Korchinski and Del Mastro looked like they fit in before heading back to junior. Galvas, Phillips, Regula and Alex Vlasic all got some NHL run last season.

    But the biggest jump in the organization that we’ve seen during the preseason was the hope for some help coming up front in the future as well. Lukas Reichel is starting the season in Rockford, but he looked pretty good in his NHL action this preseason. When he returned from concussion protocol and got into one NHL game, Colton Dach was arguably the best forward in the lineup for Chicago. And college free agent Cole Guttman was solid in his first NHL action.

    Others like Samuel Savoie looked good as young prospects in training camp. Couple those performances with what we saw earlier this summer from guys like Landon Slaggert, Dominic James, Frank Nazar, Aidan Thompson and Paul Ludwinski and the injection of young skill in the organization has been wonderful to see.

    Unfortunately, the only forward we’ll probably see from this list at any point at least early this season will be Reichel. And we all expect to see more players leave before the end of the year, so there will be some ugly scores. But there are reinforcements coming.

  • Buckle up!
  • It’s going to be a long season. The comments sections and twitterverse have already gone off the rails on a regular basis because this team has been awful for six games. And we’ll spend a lot of time in this space this season reminding you that the point this season is growth and development while doing their absolute best to earn a high lottery pick next summer.

    There are going to be more trades this season. There are going to be departures that fans aren’t excited about and openly question. There are going to be lineups turned in by Luke Richardson that make you scratch your head. We’re all going to wish Reichel was starting at LW1 with 19 and 88 a lot (until he comes up). And we’re all going to long for the dynasty days when wins were seemingly easy to come by.

    Davidson has told us his bold ambition: overhaul this entire organization to not only get it back to prominence but build it into a system that can sustain excellence. Success on the NHL ice isn’t happening this year. But there are going to be things for us to watch and evaluate together as we all wait for the bright future we’re hoping is around the corner.

    written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

    more blackhawks news

    Vlasic’s Busy Summer, Gaudreau in Rockford, Oshie Finds the Cup(holder), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

    Alex Vlasic appears to be entering his Man of the People Era. Fresh off starting his summer with a six-year contract extension, Vlasic has been making the rounds with Blackhawks social media. Last weekend he got to check out the...

    Number Change Buzz, Tax Advantages, Names Engraved, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

    Okay, I slept on it and I still need to get my soapbox out for a moment. On Friday afternoon, the Blackhawks announced the new jersey numbers for their eight veteran additions this summer and signed top draft picks. That...

    All the New Blackhawks Got Numbers (and a Few Returners Made Changes)

    On Friday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks announced the numbers for the newest members of the organization. Here they are: 15 -- Craig Smith 25 -- Alec Martinez 39 -- Laurent Brossoit 55 - Artyom Levshunov 59 -- Tyler Bertuzzi 77...

    TJ Brodie’s Family, Blue Line Fit Reasons He Chose the Blackhawks

    The flurry of reports surrounding the Blackhawks signing free agents on July 1 was wild to watch unfold. We woke up that morning to reports that Tyler Bertuzzi was coming to Chicago and the dust didn't start to settle until...

    Every Shift at the Draft, IceHogs Schedule Drop, Seth Slander, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

    The Blackhawks released the final episode of the 2023-24 edition of their "Every Shift" behind-the-scenes series. In this episode, they take us to the 2024 NHL Draft. As always, it's a good watch. You get a little more insight into...

    The Rockford IceHogs’ 2024-25 Schedule is Out

    Blackhawks fans are starting to get excited about the coming season -- in Rockford. With all of the additions the Blackhawks made to their NHL roster, the IceHogs could have one of the best rosters they've had since (at least...

    Good(?) News For Blackhawks Fans in Season Predictions

    For the last week or so, we've been talking about a lot of offseason thoughts from around the NHL interwebs about the moves that have (and haven't) been made thus far in the summer. The universal sentiment around the Blackhawks...

    We’re No. 1! Moore’s a Beauty, Rockford’s Opener, Marcel’s Back, McLellan, Stamkos, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

    Hey, the Blackhawks were ranked No. 1 -- in summer improvement. At The Athletic, Dom Luszczyszyn ranked the entire NHL based on how much better teams got with their offseasons to date and Chicago came in on the top of...

    Teuvo, Improvement, Farewell CapFriendly, Sharpie in Philly, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

    First, the news of the week for the Blackhawks. On Tuesday morning, the Blackhawks formally announced the team will return to Milwaukee for another “Home Away From Home” preseason game at Fiserv Forum against the St. Louis Blues. The game...

    Let’s Talk About the Blackhawks “Winning” and “Losing” a Trade

    A roster move on Tuesday morning and some conversation around it on social media made me think about how we define whether or not the Blackhawks "won" or "lost" a trade. It's complicated. And there can be a lot of...

    Latest News

    Topalova vs. Sorribes Tormo Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Monday, July 15

    In the Round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Monday, Sara Sorribes Tormo (ranked No. 55) meets Gergana Topalova (No. 233).Sorribes Tormo is getting -667 odds to beat Topalova (+425).Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: Round...

    Svajda vs. Paire Prediction at the Hall of Fame Open – Monday, July 15

    Zachary Svajda (No. 119 ranking) will take on Benoit Paire (No. 160) in the Round of 32 of the Hall of Fame Open on Monday, July 15.Svajda is favored (-667) in this match, compared to the underdog Paire, who is...

    Sramkova vs. Bulgaru Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Tuesday, July 16

    In the Hungarian Grand Prix Round of 32 on Tuesday, No. 105-ranked Rebecca Sramkova meets No. 218 Miriam Bianca Bulgaru.Compared to the underdog Bulgaru (+225), Sramkova is the favorite (-303) to advance.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: Round...

    Monnet vs. Toth Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Monday, July 15

    In the Hungarian Grand Prix Round of 32 on Monday, we have a matchup featuring No. 388-ranked Amarissa Kiara Toth versus No. 202 Carole Monnet.Toth carries -155 odds to defeat Monnet (+120).Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound: Round...

    Blanchet vs. Popyrin Prediction at the Hamburg European Open – Monday, July 15

    Alexei Popyrin (No. 47) will face Ugo Blanchet (No. 162) in the Round of 32 at the Hamburg European Open on Monday, July 15.Popyrin is the favorite (-250) in this matchup, compared to the underdog Blanchet, who is +190.Hamburg European...

    Timofeeva vs. Waltert Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Monday, July 15

    In the Round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Monday, Simona Waltert (ranked No. 229) takes on Maria Timofeeva (No. 102).Waltert is the favorite against Timofeeva, with -120 odds against the underdog's -110.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian...

    Makarova vs. Babos Prediction at the Hungarian Grand Prix – Tuesday, July 16

    In the Round of 32 at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Tuesday, Ekaterina Makarova (ranked No. 177) meets Timea Babos (No. 255).Babos is favored over Makarova, with -350 odds against the underdog's +240.Hungarian Grand Prix InfoTournament: The Hungarian Grand PrixRound:...

    Droguet vs. Fognini Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Monday, July 15

    In the Swiss Open Gstaad Round of 32 on Monday, No. 140-ranked Titouan Droguet meets No. 94 Fabio Fognini.Fognini is the favorite (-115) in this match, compared to the underdog Droguet, who is -110.Swiss Open Gstaad InfoTournament: The Swiss Open...

    Thiem vs. Varillas Prediction at the Swiss Open Gstaad – Monday, July 15

    In the Round of 32 at the Swiss Open Gstaad on Monday, Dominic Thiem (ranked No. 134) takes on Juan Pablo Varillas (No. 159).Varillas is the favorite (-145) in this matchup, compared to the underdog Thiem, who is +110.Swiss Open...

    Everybody Dinging the Dongs Today! Happ and Morel Go Back-to-Back

    The Cubs ALREADY had four homers in the game today when Ian Happ came to the plate in the 8th. Maybe he felt left out. Because he sent one. Then, Christopher Morel, having already homered once on the day, decided...

    more blackhawks news